Matt Magee

Written by Dolores Tropiano Category: Arts Issue: July 2013

Magee considered following in his father’s footsteps in college but concluded he’d be more content creating art. Still, he takes an archeological approach to his work, searching out artistic subjects with the same sense of wonder and delight. When Magee lived in Venice, Italy, he found detergent bottles floating in a canal that he fished out and fashioned into sculpture. Later, Magee worked above a laundromat in Brooklyn and discovered discarded laundry bottles that he transformed into art.

Several such works are featured in Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles, on view through September 1 at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St. The pedestal-mounted pieces are made from colorful, cut up detergent bottles and wire – refuse art influenced by American modernism and minimalism. “I was fascinated with detergent bottles,” Magee says. “I loved the interaction of colors, and recycling commonplace vernacular to create beautiful objects.”

Paris-born Magee, 52, worked as the chief photo archivist for the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation until 2012, when he settled into a studio at Scottsdale’s Cattle Track Compound to concentrate on his paintings, photography and sculpture. Magee is represented by several galleries including Hiram Butler Gallery in Houston. Check out his art at

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“Hanger 1” and “Hanger 2,” works from 
Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles
Photos courtesy Matt Magee