Public series explores global plastics issues through art

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is presenting a series of public programs to complement a new exhibition that explores the long-term effects of plastics.

From lectures to student research presentations, the programs are free and open to the public. The programs begin with a public preview Friday, Sept. 21, from 7-9 p.m. Explore the museum after hours and get a preview of the “Plastic Entanglements” exhibit before it officially opens Saturday, Sept. 22. The exhibit runs through Dec. 30.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Oregon Humanities Center presents the O’Fallon Lecture in Art and American Culture with artist and activist Dianna Cohen. Starting at 7:30 p.m. in Room 156, Straub Hall, Cohen, whose work is on view in “Plastic Entanglements,” presents a talk about the pervasive problem of plastic pollution.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 5:30 p.m., a panel of faculty members and experts in different fields will share perspectives on the themes of the exhibition and discuss the long-term effects of plastics consumed in the local community. Babe O’Sullivan, from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Materials Management Program, will moderate “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Plastics, Pollution, and Consumption.”

UO students present their research Thursday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m. Students from several classes, including the UO political science department's Intergenerational Justice course, will share work related to some of the core themes raised by the “Plastic Entanglements” exhibition.

Presentations may address the historical, sociological, legal, aesthetic, literary, scientific or philosophic dimensions of plastic; the material’s limitless potential benefits; and the threat plastic poses as a serious, potentially perpetual environmental curse.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 5:30 p.m., Matthew Northridge, whose work “Horizon”  is on view in the exhibit, will present a survey of his work from 2002 to present in an artist lecture, “Charting the Known Universe from Memory.”

Finally, families will get a chance to explore “Bringing the Outdoors Inside,” a free family day on Saturday, Dec. 8 from noon to 3 p.m. Visitors will experience visual and performing arts focused on current exhibitions including “Plastic Entanglements.”

 “‘Plastic Entanglements’ presents an opportunity for local and regional audiences to reflect on the global implications of plastics consumption as well as its complex presence right here in our own community,” said McCosh Associate Curator Danielle Knapp. “The artwork on view and the public programs will expand visitors’ understanding about the plastic crisis and may even inspire a call to action.”

The exhibition features 58 works exploring the complex story of plastic, from drawings and photographs to video installations and sculptures fabricated from found objects. It was organized by the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University and includes work by 30 emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from around the globe, such as Mark Dion, Marina Zurkow, Zanele Muholi, Vik Muniz, Jessica Stockholder, Chris Jordan, Brian Jungen, Aurora Robson, Willie Cole, Pinar Yoldas, Tejal Shah and Moreshin Allahyari.

“Plastic Entanglements” is made possible with the support of the city of Eugene, Lane County Waste Management Division, the Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment, Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer, the Oregon Arts Commission, the federal National Endowment for the Arts and museum members.