Eddie Boros, The Garbage Can or The Toy Tower

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  • Location:

    New York, New York, USA (Map)

  • Status:

    Non Extant

  • Artist:
  • Built:

    begun 1987

  • Materials:

    cloth, dolls, found objects, flowers, paint, wood

About the Artist/Site

Eddie Boros was born in New York City and lived his entire life in an apartment on East Sixth Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. A freelance house painter, he sometimes carved small wooden totems in a lot on Avenue B, around the corner from his home. When neighbors started a community garden there, he claimed a parcel.

Boros had always recycled discards from the street, including his clothes, and in the summer of 1987 he began to assemble found objects on his 4-by-8-foot garden plot. Along with a few sunflowers (to meet garden requirements,) he planted a 25-foot-high pole, around which he built a rough wooden scaffolding. He then added street finds he felt “belonged together”—mannequins, doll heads, stuffed animals, and religious statues—and often transformed them by applying paint and cloth, or by draping them with costume jewelry. He regularly incorporated seasonal disposables into his display and made monsters and small planes out of carved Styrofoam, dangling them from a tall plank.

In the early 1990s, a few garden members tried to oust Boros’ creation, but others defended it as a work of art. Boros refused to call his construction a “sculpture.” He variously named it The Garbage Can or The Toy Tower—and kept building. Over the ensuing twenty years, his construction grew in height and density, eventually rising to 65 feet and extending over six garden plots. A year after Boros’ death, the City’s park commissioner declared his tower unsafe and ordered it dismantled.

~Holly Metz



SPACES Archive Holdings

1 folder: images;  James Dougherty’s 1998 short film Eddie?

Map and site information

534 E 6th St
New York, New York, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 40.724658 / -73.982569


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