Sheldon Museum of Art Main Content


The Nature of Waste: Material Pathways, Discarded Worlds

August 13, 2021 through December 23, 2021
  • Ai Weiwei, Bombs.
  • Elizabeth Olds, Mending Nets.
  • Richard Florsheim, Off Shore Rig.
  • Anthony Hernandez, Landscapes for the Homeless, #11.

Second floor south galleries, including the Sarah Pearson Campbell Gallery, Woods Family Gallery, Henning Family Gallery, and Rohman Family Gallery

Trash and waste produced by human beings now exceed the combined weight of all life forms on the planet. This exhibition presents a holistic investigation into waste streams, by surveying artworks that use as inspiration our castoffs, leftovers, junk, detritus, scarcity, and ruins. With subjects ranging from nineteenth-century ragpickers to the ecocritical practices of the present day, the works highlight waste’s complex relationship with colonialism and industrial production. In so doing, the works contribute to contemporary conversations on the Anthropocene, the geological age in which humans currently live.

This exhibition is organized by Katie Anania, assistant professor of art history in the School of Art, Art History & Design. Exhibition support is provided by Hixson-Lied Endowment, Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Sheldon Art Association, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Daugherty Water for Food Institute.