“I really find a lot of freedom in limitation. If the object was to make anything out of anything, then I feel frozen. But if you told me, you can just make a grocery store out of plastic bags, then I feel like I have an infinite amount of possibilities.” -Robin Frohardt
Robin Frohardt is an award-winning artist living in Brooklyn, NY, known for her highly detailed constructions within narrative based film, performance, puppetry and sculpture. Frohardt uses found materials to create richly detailed worlds that highlight the trivialities of daily life. Often working with cardboard, plastic bags, and other materials typically considered disposable, Frohardt creates highly intricate fabrications out of recognizable artifacts.
Frohardt’s performance and puppetry-based work has been presented at St. Ann’s Warehouse and HERE in New York City, as well as national venues including the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts and the NEXTNOW Festival in Maryland. Her theatrical work has earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Creative Capital Award, a DisTil Fellowship from Carolina Performing Arts, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a Residency at Olson Kundig, a renowned design architecture firm in Seattle, and multiple Jim Henson Foundation Grants. Her play THE PIGEONING, hailed by the New York Times as “a tender, fantastical symphony of the imagination,” debuted in 2013 and has been translated into German, Greek, Arabic, and Turkish. Her films have been official selections at The Telluride Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, The One Earth Film Festival, and BAM.
Frohardt’s latest major project, THE PLASTIC BAG STORE, premiered in Times Square in 2020 and has since toured to Los Angeles, Chicago, Adelaide, Austin. A public art installation and immersive film experience, THE PLASTIC BAG STORE uses humor, craft, and a critical lens to question our culture of consumption and convenience — specifically, the enduring effects of our single-use plastics. Stocked with hand-made sculpted objects made from discarded single-use packaging, the store transforms into an immersive, dynamic stage for a film in which inventive puppetry, shadow play, and intricate handmade sets tell the darkly comedic, sometimes tender story of how the overabundance of plastic waste we leave behind might be misinterpreted by future generations.
THE PLASTIC BAG STORE premieres in Ann Arbor on January 17.
Co-presented by the U‑M Museum of Art, the University Musical Society, and the U‑M Graham Sustainability Institute, in partnership with the U‑M Arts Initiative. Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio
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