The Plastic in Question

Environmental Exhibit on View at the Main Library

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; mjeffers@sfpl.org

July 20, 2012

The Plastic in Question

Environmental Exhibit on View at the San Francisco Main Library

Image of plastics Since 1999 Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been visiting 1,000 yards of Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Sea Shore. They have walked this one remote beach hundreds of times to gather plastic debris washing out of the Pacific Ocean. By carefully collecting and "curating" the bits of plastic, they fashion it into works of art. This artwork will be featured in the exhibit, The Plastic in Question which explores the ever-growing problem of plastic flowing into the waste stream. Sponsored by the Library’s Art, Music and Recreation Center and the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center, the exhibit opens tomorrow in the San Francisco Main Library’s First, Fourth and Fifth Floors, 100 Larkin St., and will be on view through October 11.

Viewers of the exhibit are often surprised that this colorful stuff is the thermoplastic junk of our throwaway culture. As Lang and Selby have deepened their practice they’ve found, like archeologists, that each bit of what they find opens into a pinpoint look at the whole of human culture. Each bit has a story to tell.

For the exhibit, Lang and Selby are posing five important questions about the pervasive role plastic has come to play in contemporary life. In vitrines and display boards they will explore questions such as:

  • Where is “away,” as in, “throw away”?
  • What’s the true cost of plastic?
  • Where did this plastic come from and how did it get to the beach?
  • What’s love got to do with it?
  • What to do about the problem of plastic pollution?

Viewers to the exhibition will be encouraged to take personal responsibility for their daily use of plastic, bringing “refuse” into the conversation about reduce, reuse, recycle. For more information about the exhibit, visit beachplastic.com.

Related Program:

Film Screening: Bag ItThe documentary film follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics.

Aug. 23, 5:45 p.m., Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library

Film Screening: One Word: Plastics Panel discussion with artists Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang, Michael Stewart from Surfriders, and Susan Freinkel, the author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story; moderated by Daniella Dimitrova Russo, co-founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Sept. 27, 6 p.m., Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library

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Note to Editors: More images available upon request

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