Jean Shin: MAiZE


A Collaboration with the Figge Art Museum and the Quad City Community

It is easy to see why cornfields represent the Iowa landscape. During summer commutes on Interstate 80, one can see rows of the plant stretch to the horizon and fill the scenery. The landscape, as well as the community’s ties to agriculture, inspired Jean Shin to create MAiZE. On June 24, thousands of repurposed green plastic bottles crafted into “cornstalk” sculptures by volunteers will form an elaborate maze on the Figge Art Museum’s third floor. In addition to demonstrating the power of artmaking and community collaboration, the installation will engage visitors in a dialogue about plastic waste, food choices and environmental stewardship.

The majority of plastic in this country is not recycled but instead ends up in landfills, the Mississippi River, the oceans and other natural areas. The sheer mass of plastic in the installation will encourage visitors to consider plastic waste and its detrimental effects on the environment. The empty bottles, once filled with soda, will illustrate the issues of overconsumption and the harmful effects of processed foods like corn syrup. Expanding on these concepts, MAiZE will reflect broadly on social and environmental issues that arise from mass consumption and the convenience culture. 


Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. Her work has been widely exhibited in major national and international museums, including solo exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona (2010), Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. (2009), the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2006) and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2004). Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in the United States, Shin attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1999 and received a BFA and MS from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She lives and works in New York City. 


To take part in MAiZE, contact Vanessa Brown, curatorial assistant, at vbrown@figgeartmuseum.org or 563.345.6636.

MAiZE will be on view June 24-September 24, 2017


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Companion Events

THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 16, 30, April 13, 20

4-6 pm Drop-in Community Workshops 

SATURDAY, APRIL 22
Earth Day

THURSDAY, JUNE 22
5:30 pm Opening Reception
7 pm Artist Talk: Jean Shin

THURSDAY, AUGUST 3
5:30 p.m. Social Hour 
7 pm Scholar Talk: Dr. Pamela White