Joseph Scanlan

Pay Dirt


Pay Dirt invents and manufactures a commercial product and then re-introduces it as a work of art. In this work, Joseph Scanlan designed packaging and applied for a patent for the product. Once the patent was pending, he produced one ton of Pay Dirt, a potting soil made of material generally dumped in the trash, as a kind of first issue prototype. Subsequent production levels were determined by the remaining resources and public reaction to the work.


  • Joseph Scanlan

    Born and educated in Ohio, Joe Scanlan has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions…

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Project Updates

  • 2003: Pay Dirt is exhibited at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England

  • 2003: Pay Dirt is exhibited at Galerie Micheline Szwajcer in Antwerp, Belgium

Work Samples