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Oscar in NFT Land

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted:  November 21, 2020

Artist Description: "Just because you're trash doesn't mean you can't acoomplish great things. It's called a garbage CAN, not a garbage cannot." Oscar the Grouch. I feel as though Oscar the Grouch has had either a severe lack of exposure, or he's not been featured in the #trashart movement, where he most definitely deserves inclusion. Edition of 5

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Generally, when I come upon a Trash Artist in the course of my crypto art exploration, they’re a Trash Artist first, second, and third; foremost and utmost; Trash Art is the Alpha and Omega of their artistic experience. And that’s entirely what I expected when I came upon Oscar in NFT Land by artist BrucetheGoose: I expected their oeuvre to be filled with similarly silly and meme-tastic pieces of Trash Art. I expected an entire career bent to the celebration of trash cans and trash can iconography, of memes and vaporwave and remixes, of so-called “low effort” artistry, photomosh filters, and the like. Boy was I surprised! BrucetheGoose is a fantastically diverse artist, with pieces ranging from the abstract and AI-utilized, to Trash Art extraordinaries like Oscar in NFT Land, to an entire fantasy art series “inspired by a homebrew D&D world and game campaign that the artist has created (and continues to create) over the course of nearly a decade.” Bruce is clearly an artist of multifaceted talents and multifaceted interests. It shows in the work, and, hell, it even shows in Oscar in NFT Land. Yes, this is Trash Art at its best: Cheeky, memetic, low-effort, intensely silly, positively joyful, but it’s also a distillative text we can use to uncover the many colliding facets of BrucetheGoose’s artistic sensibility. Because here we have the playful, the pop culture knowledgeable, the experimental (in a way), the honorific, and the nihilistic (for more nihilism, visit, though the artist explicitly encourages you not to). It’s all there, tucked into the smiling fur of everyone’s favorite garbage-can-dwelling Muppet. 

Just going to go ahead and echo the sentiment from BrucetheGoose’s Artist Description: 

“I feel as though Oscar the Grouch has had either a severe lack of exposure, or he's not been featured in the #trashart movement, where he most definitely deserves inclusion.” To their point, it’s a small wonder the Trash Art movement hasn’t absorbed the Oscar iconography into its ranks. But BrucetheGoose refuses to let Oscar go altogether unconsidered. Their creation, Oscar in NFT Land, is a stock photo of Oscar the Grouch —he of Sesame Street fame— hanging partway out of a long dumpster atop a veritable sea of trash. Oscar looks, well, happy, smiling, antithetical to how the character is usually presented: scowling, in the throes of some malcontented comment. But then again, as opposed to his usual metal trash can dwelling, Oscar’s new digs are sprawling. A photomosh-type filter has been overlaid atop the photo of Oscar, one that shifts the visuals around the color scale, so the frame is bathed in pinks, reds, blues, yellow, greens, and back again. 

Maybe if you looked at BrucetheGoose’s Opensea page you’d learn more about their penchant for Trash Art, but it’s positively hidden if you were to interrogate their Makersplace, Foundation or KnownOrigin. But there, on their Opensea, is a cavalcade of other meme-based, low-effort art pieces. Things ranging from a silhouette giving a middle finger, in a piece titled Good Riddance to 2022, to a marriage of the Doge meme with Nyancat-inspired visuals called It Was Good to be King, presumably created around the rise and fall of Dogecoin in the spring of 2021. However, explicit Trash Art —that is to say artistry that specifically references Trash, garbage cans, garbage trucks, Oscar the Grouch, etc.— are lacking except for Oscar in NFT Land. I find this deeply interesting. Just a single toe dipped into the Trash Art community. A recognition of it, an honoring of it, an expansion of it, but not an absorption of the movement into one’s artistic life. It’s neither here nor there, just interesting. Just altogether unique.

In Bruce’s Artist Description is a quote from Oscar the Grouch himself: "Just because you're trash doesn't mean you can't acoomplish great things. It's called a garbage CAN, not a garbage cannot” (sic). And I do think, as a character, Oscar the Grouch uniquely exalts the characteristic of the Trash Art movement itself. Taking an iconography that is either generally forgotten or uncared for —the garbage can— and centering it in one’s life, defending and celebrating it even in the face of social pressure to the contrary. Eric Rhodes, ROBNESS, Nino Arteiro, is this not what they did? Just as Duchamp did with Fountain, and I’m comparing the two not just for the reasons many have previously used to compare the two (because they challenge the notion of “What is Art” chief among them). But for the sake of all these artists rallying around objects that are receptacles for refuse, not the refuse itself but the place where it is collected, the places we all collectively have chosen to burden with the full weight of our excreted unwanteds. 

And yet there’s beauty in it. Most Trash Art finds the humor therein, but BrucetheGoose’s piece uniquely finds and explores that beauty. The puppet living in the Trash Can, obsessed with the Trash Can, wouldn’t leave for anything, sees the beauty in the thing that nobody else does, finds comfort in the thing that nobody else finds, saying “Yes” to a lifestyle that most others will automatically and unthinkingly say “No” to.  There’s a beauty in that which extends out past Trash Art and encapsulates the crypto art community itself. It’s Trash Art which champions the misfit, and does so in a larger space practically dominated by them.

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