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Artist Chris Jordan Brings Mass Consumption Issues to the Forefront at Meredith College

The belief that the enormous scale of what he calls “the underbelly of American mass consumption” has to been seen to be comprehended inspires visual artist Chris Jordan, who brought his message to Meredith College on September 19, 2012.

Jordan, whose works are hanging in museums including the NC Museum of Art, is an internationally acclaimed artist. His work explores contemporary mass culture from a variety of photographic and conceptual perspectives, connecting the viewer to the enormity of humanity’s behavior.

His works include a piece called “Three Second Meditation,” which depicts 9,960 mail order catalogs, equal to the average number of pieces of junk mail that are printed, shipped, delivered and disposed of in the U.S. every three seconds, and “Venus,” which depicts 240,000 plastic bags, equal to the estimated number of plastic bags consumed around the world every ten seconds.

“I want to make these global issues personal,” Jordan said during the Fall convocation lecture at Meredith, “I want to foster comprehension of these issues and foster some feeling around them.”

His art grew from an interest in showing the colors found in piles of trash, “the giant piles of the things we throw away … creating a macabre portrait of America” to his current efforts of bringing staggering statistics to visual life.

Jordan’s latest project is a film about the thousands of baby albatrosses that die on Midway Island after eating plastic that floats in the Pacific Ocean. It is estimated that 2.4 million pounds of plastic pollution enter the world's oceans every hour.

“This isn’t something that somebody else is doing,” Jordan said. “It is each of us one by one. We have to face these issues first if we want to solve them.”

Jordan’s visit to Meredith College also included class visits, an artist-led tour of the NC Museum of Art, and an informal Q&A with students. His visit was sponsored by the Meredith College Convocation Committee, the Department of Art, and through major additional support from the Meredith Environmental Sustainability Initiative, which is funded by a generous grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.

Visit for more information about the artist and his work.

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