Photo: Samantha Chang

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but artist Gabriel Orozco takes that cliché literally. Orozco’s vast collection of detritus is showcased in a thought-provoking new exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum.

“Gabriel Orozco’s Asterisms” is a sculptural and photographic installation comprising thousands of items the artist gathered from an athletic field in New York and a protected coastal biosphere in Mexico.

The refuse Orozco foraged include everyday objects most of us don’t give a second thought to when we see them in the trash or on the streets: glass bottles, light bulbs, coins, candy wrappers, stones, and bits of threads.

But for Orozco, 50, these discarded items provide a unique canvas to spotlight his recurring artistic motifs of erosion, poetic encounters with mundane materials, and the ever-present tension between nature and culture.

“Gabriel Orozco’s Asterisms” is on view at the Guggenheim through Jan. 13, 2013.