Palmer Museum of Art presents 'Plastics@thePalmer' programming

February 13, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State presents “Plastics@thePalmer,” a diverse series of artist lectures, films, gallery talks and “entangled conversations” with scholars as part of the exhibition “Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials,” on view through June 17.

“Much like the exhibition itself, the programs address the environmental, aesthetic, and social implications of plastic and how it infiltrates virtually every aspect of our lives,” said Erin Coe, director of the Palmer Museum of Art.

The exhibition, organized by the Palmer Museum of Art, features 60 works exploring the complex story of plastic — from drawings and photographs to video installations and sculptures fabricated from found plastic — by 30 emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from around the globe.

This exhibition was made possible by available funds from the Donald W. Hamer Endowment for Art Acquisitions and Exhibitions. Major support was provided by the Arboretum at Penn State, College of Arts and Architecture, Materials Research Institute, Sustainability Institute, University Libraries, George Dewey and Mary J. Krumrine Endowment, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts, in addition to funding from 25 other entities across campus.

For more on the exhibition, visit


“Divide in Concord” (2014)

“Divide in Concord” is a feature-length documentary that follows the entertaining tale of banning bottled water in small-town America. (750 Productions, 82 minutes)

  • Wednesday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m., Foxdale Village Auditorium
  • Thursday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Flex Theatre, HUB-Robeson Center

“Bag It” (2010)

In this touching and often flat-out-funny film, we follow “everyman” Jeb Berrier, who is admittedly not a tree hugger, as he embarks on a global tour to unravel the complexities of our plastic world. (Reel Thing Productions, 78 minutes)

  • Tuesday, March 20, 7 p.m., Flex Theatre, HUB-Robeson Center
  • Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m., Foxdale Village Auditorium

“Plastic Paradise” (2013)

Independent filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover the mysterious phenomenon of the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Sunshine Films, 57 minutes)

  • Wednesday, April 18, 7 p.m., Foxdale Village Auditorioum
  • Thursday, April 19, 7 p.m., Flex Theatre, HUB-Robeson Center


Unless otherwise noted, all lectures take place in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium.

— “Rethink Plastic," Dianna Cohen, artist and CEO, Plastic Pollution Coalition — Thursday, Feb. 15, 5:30 p.m.

— “Misadventures of a Contemporary Naturalist," Mark Dion, artist — Tuesday, Feb. 27, 4:30 p.m.

— “Visual Activism,"  Zanele Muholi, artist and activist — Tuesday, March 27, 4:30 p.m.

— “Art, Environmental Activism, and Moral Repair: A (Not-So-) Modest Proposal for Our Times," Pamela Longobardi, Distinguished Professor of Art, Georgia State University — Thursday, March 29, 4:30 p.m.

— “On Digital Colonialism and Monstrosity," Morehshin Allahyari, artist — Friday, April 6, 10 a.m., Foster Auditorium

— “Plasto-Art: An Eco-Aesthetic Process of Remaking," Ifeoma U. Anyaeiji, artist — Tuesday, April 10, 4:30 p.m.


All conversations take place in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium.

— “Plastic (and Curatorial) Entanglements," Joyce Robinson, curator, with guest co-curators Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Penn State professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and English, and Heather Davis, independent scholar — Friday, Feb. 16, 12:10 p.m.

— “Embracing an Interdisciplinary Approach to Plastics Pollution," The Synthetic Collective: artists Kelly Jazvac and Kelly Wood; geologist Patricia Corcoran; and art historian Kirsty Robertson — Friday, Feb. 16, 1 p.m.

— “What is the Primary Driver of Plastic Pollution: Technology, Society, or State?" Melik Demirel, director, Center for Research on Advanced Fiber Technologies (CRAFT), Penn State College of Engineering — Friday, Feb. 23, 12:10 p.m.

— “Microplastics in Our Waterways: The Case of the Chesapeake Bay," Denice Wardrop, Penn State research professor, professor of geography and ecology, and associate director, Riparia — Friday, March 16, 12:10 p.m.

— “Flexible Consumption: Plastics and the American Ecology of Oil," Brian Black, professor of history and environmental studies and head, Arts and Humanities Division, Penn State Altoona —Friday, March 23, 12:10 p.m.

— “Plastic Natures: Of (Wo)men and Money," Sajay Samuel, clinical professor of accounting, Penn State Smeal College of Business — Friday, March 30, 12:10 p.m.

— “Thoughts on ‘Styrofoam’: A Reading," Evelyn Reilly, New York-based poet and author of “Styrofoam” (2009) and “Apocalypso” (2012) — Friday, April 6, 12:10 p.m.

— “M.A.K.E. 3D and Experiential STEAM LEARNING," Aaron Knochel, Penn State assistant professor of art education — Friday, April 13, 12:10 p.m.

— “Pathways to our Sustainable Future: A Global Perspective from Pittsburgh," Patricia DeMarco, visiting researcher and writer, Carnegie Mellon University Institute for Green Science, and radio host of “The New American Economy” — Friday, April 20, 12:10 p.m.

— “A Short Literary History of Plastic," Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Penn State professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and English — Friday, April 27, 12:10 p.m.


— Ann Tarantino, Penn State assistant professor of art; director, Woskob Family Gallery; curator, Borland Project Space — Friday, May 11, 12:10 p.m.

— Bonnie Collura, Penn State associate professor of art — Friday, May 18, 12:10 p.m.

— Aurora Robson, artist — Friday, June 1, 12:10 p.m. This gallery talk will begin at the Palmer and conclude at The Arboretum.

— Rebecca Strzelec, professor of visual arts, Penn State Altoona — Friday, June 8, 12:10 p.m.

  • Dianna Cohen, "postconsumer mandala"

    Dianna Cohen, "postconsumer mandala," 2001, plastic bags, handles, thread, and pushpins.

    IMAGE: Dianna Cohen
Last Updated February 19, 2018