EUGENE, Ore. -- (February 26, 2013) – In conjunction with a series of city-wide events and the Eugene Opera’s production of “Dead Man Walking,” the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art displays Corvallis-based artist Julie Green’s “The Last Supper,” a selection of some 500 porcelain painted plates that illustrate the final meal requests of U.S. death row inmates. The exhibition will be on view March 1 – April 7, 2013 in the Artist Project Space Gallery.
Green will give an Artist’s Talk on Wednesday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m.
“I have always been focused on food,” says Green. “As a kid, I won eating contests; these days I grow organic produce. The years I spent in Oklahoma, which has the highest per capita rate of executions, turned my interest in food toward final meals.”
To create “The Last Supper” Green paints images and words relating to inmates’ last meals on second-hand ceramic plates, using a blue mineral paint. The plates are then kiln fired by Green’s technical advisor Toni Acock. The subject matter varies greatly as the final meal requests reflect the particular state’s regulations and the heritage of the inmates. Green discovered that many states, Texas included, limit inmates to what is available in the prison cafeteria.
Jolly Ranchers, birthday cake, and regional favorites like fried crappie from Arkansas or crab cakes from Delaware are featured in the series. Lobster and steak are exceptions with more familiar, comfort foods like hamburgers, biscuits, and milkshakes being more popular requests.
Green doesn't include the names of the executed death row inmates; she only identifies the plates by the execution date and last meal. Green says that when she paints the plates, she thinks about "the death penalty, the victims, the heinous crimes committed, the individuals executed, the large number of minorities on death row and the margin for error in judicial process."
She notes that America is one of the few countries with capital punishment and that there have been a total of 1,320 U.S. state-sanctioned executions since 1976. Green plans to add fifty plates a year to “The Last Supper” until capital punishment is abolished.
Julie Green was born in Japan in 1961. Green is a nationally renowned artist and recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painter and Sculptors Award. Herwork was featured in OSU’s “Terra Magazine,” and the project has received national media attention in outlets as diverse as the “New York Times,” National Public Radio and magazines “Ceramic Monthly” and “Gastronomica.”
Her work has been included in 25 solo exhibitions in this country and abroad. An Associate Professor at Oregon State University, she lives in the Willamette Valley with her husband, artist Clay Lohmann, and their one-eyed cat. Green divides studio time between narrative painting and ”The Last Supper” project.
Prisons, compassion, and peace are the themes encompassing a series of city-wide events this spring centered on the Eugene Opera’s Northwest premier of “Dead Man Walking.” The Eugene Public Library will host a community read of Sister Helen Prejean’s novel, “Dead Man Walking,” Prisons and Peace is the focus of the UNESCO/UO Conference, and The Downtown Initiative for the Visual Arts will host the exhibition “Visions from Within.” A full listing of programs can be found at: http://www.eugeneopera.com/dmw.html
About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art based in a major university setting. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public. The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, America and elsewhere as well as changing special exhibition galleries. The JSMA is one of six museums in Oregon accredited by the American Association of Museums.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.
About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.
Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942, firstname.lastname@example.org
Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, http://jsma.uoregon.edu/JulieGreen
Julie Green, http://www.greenjulie.com/thelastsupper.html
Eugene Opera, http://www.eugeneopera.com/dmw.html