Science Becomes Art in Barbara MacCallum’s exhibition “Appropriating Science”

On view from September 23, 2017 – January 28, 2018, the artist will give a talk at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 23


EUGENE, Ore. -- (September 8, 2017) – Barbara MacCallum’s “Appropriating Science” is on view in the Artist Project Space from September 23, 2017 to January 28, 2018. The Irish-born artist uses the scientific papers of her husband, Robert Johnson, a physicist professor at the University of Virginia, as well as casts of his body, to create beautiful, powerful, and provocative works of art.


The exhibition opens with a free public reception on Friday, September 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. MacCallum will lead an artist talk on Saturday, September 23 at 11:30 a.m.


“In a society that places science above art in its educational systems, its financial rewards and its methods of recognition, I am reversing the relationship by appropriating the materials of science, obliterating their usual function and reconfiguring science into art,” writes MacCallum. “My work has evolved through a collaborative relationship with my husband who is a physicist; I cast his body and recycle his published papers giving a new existence to the detritus of science” 


This exhibition features four of MacCallum’s most recent works: “Europa's Radiation Environment and its Effects on the Surface (Shawl);” “Mechanism for Cloud Spreading in the DSMC Model II (Wings);” “Mars' Upper Atmosphere under Extreme Solar Wind Conditions (Dress);” and “Mechanism for Cloud Spreading in the DSMC Model I (Vest).” Composed of scientific papers, polymer mediums, wire screening, Irish linen thread, and other materials, the works command space and create an environment both otherworldly and familiar.


“Enigmatic, transgressive, and sensuous, her sculptures invite us, perhaps even dare us, to set aside our own distinct identities in favor of losing ourselves in her alien world,” says Jill Hartz, JSMA executive director, who has worked with the artist since 1996.


“Appropriating Science” is the first exhibition supported by the new endowment, the Hartz FUNd for Contemporary Art. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog written by Hartz and recent University of Oregon graduate Amelia Anderson.


“I am deeply grateful to a dear friend and anonymous donor, who created the Hartz FUNd for Contemporary Art,” says Hartz. “It has given me new opportunities to bring much admired art and artists to Eugene.”


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. 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, Europe, and the Americas as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of seven museums—and the only academic art museum-- in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance 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. 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.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,