Ifeoma U. Anyaeji, Akpalakpa II (Weave), 2012, repurposed, used, non-biodegradable discarded plastic bags, metal wire, and wood. Courtesy of the artist and Skoto Gallery, New York.

Vik Muniz, Sarah Bernhardt from Rebus, 2010, digital C-print. Purchased with funds provided by the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art, Collection of the Palmer Museum of Art, 2011.25. © Vik Muniz, courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

Aurora Robson, Isla, 2014, plastic debris (PET + HDPE), aluminum rivets, tinted polycrylic, and mica powder. Courtesy of the artist.




Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials

September 22, 2018 to December 30, 2018

Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials features 58 recent works made by 30 artists from 13 countries that investigate the complex cultural and material nexus that is “Plastic.” Organized around the curatorial concept of entanglement – which describes the literal entanglements of animals and plastic detritus as well as the plasticity of global networks – the exhibition explores the unique materiality of plastic, as an artistic material and potent symbol of Western modernity, and considers the environmental consequences of its widespread use. Plastic Entanglements charts the temporal nature of this seemingly ubiquitous material that is at once miraculous and malignant, ephemeral yet relentlessly enduring. Plastic’s temporal entanglements create the exhibition narrative, unfolding thematically as the archive, the entangled present, and speculative futures. Ultimately, the exhibition argues that plastic entangles categories of the aesthetic, the ethical, the material, the technological, and the critical.

Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials was organized by the Palmer Museum of Art of The Pennsylvania State University. At the University of Oregon, Plastic Entanglements is made possible with the generous support of the City of Eugene, Lane County Waste Management Division, Coeta and Donald Barker Changing Exhibitions Endowment; Arlene Schnitzer and Jordan Schnitzer; the Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and JSMA members.

Related Projects
Students in Assistant Professor of Art History and Environmental Studies Emily Scott’s “Land and Environmental Art” class (ARH 410/510) researched artwork presented in Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials (organized by the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University, on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art through December 30, 2018). Excerpts from selected research papers are now available to read online or in a gallery guide in the exhibition.