Lost and Found: Paige Stevenson’s Trash Decor

In Paige’s kitchen, outmoded cutlery and vintage postcards abound.

Oh, I love trash!
Anything dirty or dingy or dusty!
Anything ragged or rotten or rusty!
Yes, I love TRASH!

Oscar the Grouch

Artist, dancer, muse o’ Brooklyn, Paige Stevenson has lived in her sprawling Williamsburg loft for almost twenty years. Every last nook and cranny is filled with artfully displayed found objects. Nicknamed the Hip Joint (after Paige yoinked that specific prosthetic human body part from an abandoned asylum hospital) once upon a time [EDIT 05/11: and now called The House of Collection] the place is legendary; sort of an unofficial Town Hall for the last stubborn gasp of New York’s bohemian art collective. Paige has hosted hundreds of performances, benefits, discoteques, tea parties, rehearsals, photo sessions and film shoots there.

Even after seven years of fighting litigation to try and kick her out of the rent-controlled space, Paige’s enthusiasm for collecting and sharing this vast array of discarded treasures remains boundless. “I guess my relationship to trash is one of aesthetic appreciation on a daily basis, because one could define the decoration of my house as Trash Decoration. It’s something that I live with every day, and enjoy, and actually love.” In this recent interview for The Garbage Collection, Paige discusses site specific pieces she’s rescued from the rubbish heap:

“The collection has accrued over the years from scavenging unloved objects. It seemed very sad to me that these things, because they were no longer used, had become garbage, landfill, trash… It’s my way of holding on to a little bit of the past.”

More photos and pertinent links under the cut.

A mere glimpse of Paige’s ginormous apothecary jar collection.

Sharp things: a photo shoot with Brian Viglione and antiquated farm tools.

A cozy room with a view…

….of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Piano guts.

Collector/curator Paige Stevens at the Horned Ball, 2006. (Photo by Eeva Doherty.)

15 Responses to “Lost and Found: Paige Stevenson’s Trash Decor”

  1. Kambriel Says:

    I know that Oscar the Grouch song by heart from childhood ~ it can be quite a bit of fun to sing out of context!

  2. Michael V. Says:

    AHHH!! I love Paige! I’ve known her awhile through a friend, and she’s a fantastic hostess and wonderful all-around individual. So surprised and happy to see her mentioned here!

  3. Nicola Says:

    My brother got arrested for stealing old things out of our local mental asylum (it was abandoned, thank god)
    My parents stopped letting me pick things up off the side of the rode to bring home. They’re afraid I will infest the house with lice.

  4. gooby Says:

    Yeah, my parents stopped me from picking up trash and making things out of it when I was little, after they saw that I had been finding tampon applicators in the sewer, painting them and making them into jetpacks for my toys.

    The sewer was a veritable smorgasborg.

    Now I am afraid, and I hover the streets of San Francisco with my hands curled inside of themselves, because the world is covered in poopy.

  5. Lauren Says:

    Mer, how exactly do I get in touch with this amazing woman. I’d LOVE to shoot her in her apartment. With a camera, of course. But WOW, that’s incredible.

    And who’s that weirdo in the white?

  6. James Shearhart Says:

    Now I have a sudden urge to spend some time at the local urban recycle places….

    @Lauren – Obviously, that’s Tom Wolfe…. :)

  7. Skerror Says:

    “after they saw that I had been finding tampon applicators in the sewer, painting them and making them into jetpacks for my toys.”

    “Obviously, that’s Tom Wolfe…. :)”

    Double LOLZ :)

    Awesome imagination she has. What sort of rotten lizard-loving bastard would try to kick her out of her Hip Joint? I don’t think I personally could live surrounded by that much stuff…my urge to do spring cleaning would rise to dangerous levels. Looks like a hella fun place to play though.

  8. wrayb Says:

    wow. truly a class trash act.

  9. sparrowantlers Says:

    i get the sense that one could never feel lonely in a place like this. i think my home would be much the same if i wasn’t in college and moving every year.

  10. EEv Says:

    This is where the Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art Salon was! Such a cool place. Inside garden.

  11. Jx Says:

    Very good!!

  12. Maria Says:

    Wow. While looking at these pics, the term “universal art” is really getting new meaning to me. :) This is a bright example of how you can make unique pieces of art out of everyday, common things from the streets, scrapheaps or wherever you find them. Nice job!

  13. Niklaus Hilber Says:

    I used to live with Paige, back in 1991-93, she took me on because I had been kicked out of my apartment over night, and living at this loft changed my life forever. Paige – it’s wonderful you’re still there, I wish you all the best. Please get in touch with me through facebook, I would love to talk to you. Best, Niklaus.

  14. Mary Stevenson Tosch Says:

    Hey Paige,
    Taylor said she had a great time visiting.
    I think the collecting is in the gene pool.
    Your loft is amazing
    I am your dad’s cousin in Ellensburg, WA.
    Thanks for a look at your loft and life.

  15. Mr Arm Says:

    This place looks amazing! We feel our house is somewhat in the same vein. We hope to cover our whole house someday much like this loft.