Works of Art Exploring the Complex Story of Plastic is the Focus of Exhibition at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

"Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials," organized by the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State, is on view from September 22 to December 30, 2018.


EUGENE, Ore. -- (June 26, 2018) –  Sixty works exploring the complex story of plastic — from drawings and photographs to video installations and sculptures fabricated from found objects — will be featured in "Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials," on view at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon from September 22 – December 30, 2018.


“Plastic Entanglements” 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. The artists’ work examines the environmental, aesthetic, and technological implications of plastic and how it infiltrates virtually every aspect of our lives.

“The artists in ‘Plastic Entanglements’ are researchers, activists, and perceptual engineers who change the way people see and think about this pervasive material in the built environment and natural world,” says Cheryl Hartup, JSMA Associate Curator of Latin American Art.

"Plastic Entanglements" is displayed in three sections, charting a timeline — past, present and future — of our relationship with plastic. “The Archive” examines the ways in which plastic objects make up an inadvertent record of daily life from the mid-20th century onwards.


“The Entangled Present” reveals the ways in which plastic binds people, plants, and animals together across diverse geographical locations and through global systems. The works of art in this section focus attention on the complex effects of the reach of plastic on ecological networks as well as on current artistic practice.

The exhibition concludes with a section dedicated to “Speculative Futures,” asking what unknown worlds are emerging from the omnipresence of plastic, including new geologic and biologic forms.


"Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials" was originally curated by Joyce Robinson, curator at the Palmer Museum of Art; Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and English at Penn State; and Heather Davis, independent scholar. Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator, and Hartup, are overseeing the exhibition at the JSMA.


“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,” says Knapp. “The artwork on view will expand visitors’ understanding about the plastic crisis and may even inspire a call to action.”


The artists in “Plastic Entanglements” are researchers, activists, and perceptual engineers who change the way people see ubiquitous objects made of plastic and think about this pervasive material in the built environment and natural world.”


Following its installation at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, it will travel to the Smith College Museum of Art, February 8 – July 28, 2019 and the Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, September 13, 2019 – January 5, 2020.


The JSMA’s presentation of “Plastic Entanglements is made possible with the generous support of the 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.


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,