Artis-Naples announces gift of Pam Longobardi's Swerve to the Baker Museum permanent collection

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Artis-Naples announces gift of Pam Longobardi's Swerve to the Baker Museum permanent collection
Pam Longobardi (American, b. 1958). Swerve, 2019. Over 500 ocean plastic objects from Alaska, Greece, California, Hawaii, Gulf of Mexico and Costa Rica, steel specimen pins; 96 x 54 x 8 in. Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum. Museum purchase with funds provided by Anne and Mark Rubin, 2022.3.1

NAPLES, FLA.- Artis—Naples announced today a significant acquisition to The Baker Museum permanent collection: Swerve, by Pam Longobardi, currently on view in the exhibition Pam Longobardi: Ocean Gleaning. This acquisition was made possible by a generous gift from Anne and Mark Rubin. Created in 2019, the wall-mounted work consists of more than 500 ocean plastic objects from Alaska, Greece, California, Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico and Costa Rica. The exhibition is on view through July 24 on the first floor of The Baker Museum.

Kathleen van Bergen, CEO and president, said “We are deeply grateful to Anne and Mark Rubin for supporting this important addition to The Baker Museum permanent collection. Ocean Gleaning reminds us of how we can each do our part to collectively protect our natural resources, and Swerve is representative of the importance of Pam Longobardi’s work. The pieces are beautiful and alluring: Upon closer inspection, they reveal what they are made of, and then they ask us to think about the crisis taking place in our oceans.”

Museum Director and Chief Curator Courtney McNeil echoes van Bergen’s thanks to the Rubins and said she believes the exhibition has inspired many visitors to be more cognizant of the effects of our consumption and lifestyle on the planet as a whole—especially the oceans. “Thanks to Anne and Mark, Swerve will become a part of our growing permanent collection of more than 4,000 works of modern and contemporary art,” McNeil said. “We are pleased to announce this acquisition just in time for Earth Day this year, as Longobardi’s timely work serves as a stark reminder of just how much plastic—which poses great danger to ocean life—is in our oceans at any given time. It’s an honor to add this significant piece to our collection.”

Longobardi, who is regents’ professor at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design at Georgia State University in Atlanta, has been working with found ocean plastics for more than 15 years, since discovering the mountainous piles of plastic debris the ocean was depositing on the remote shores of Hawaii. She refers to this body of work as the Drifters Project. In collaboration with local communities, Longobardi has cleaned beaches around the globe—including Clam Pass in Naples—removing tens of thousands of pounds of plastic from the environment and converting them into epic artworks.

“I am interested in the collision between nature and culture,” Longobardi said. “Ocean plastic is a material that can unleash unpredictable dynamics and has profound stories to tell: The ocean is communicating with us through the materials of our own making.”

Longobardi is represented in public and private collections, including the Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg, Virginia; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; and many others.

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