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Jean Shin: The Last Straw

Winter Garden

Commissioned by Arts Brookfield

Jean Shin’s The Last Straw presents three macro and micro views of plastic waste, featuring different configurations and perspectives of colorful straws and reflective material. A poignant part of the installation includes scattered piles of straws in the distance, which map the flow of plastic debris from our coastlines into the gigantic concentration of garbage floating in the ocean. The artwork encourages viewers to contemplate their own plastic consumption and question the ecological impact of consumer behavior in contributing to plastic pollution.

While acknowledging the Straw Ban represents only a tiny fragment of the problem in slowing down the flood of plastics into our marine environment, Jean Shin’s artwork aims to prompt us to better understand the magnitude and urgency of the environmental dilemma facing our planet.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back” is the familiar phrase said when a small and seemingly insignificant addition to an existing burden renders it too much to bear. What is “the last straw” in our ecological crisis?  What would our future look like when we individually and collectively decide that we will no longer accept the status quo?  How do we stop the first straw from being produced and get to the source of the problem?

Floating MAiZE and The Last Straw are curated by Kendal Henry for Brookfield Place. Henry is an artist and curator who has specialized in the field of public art for nearly thirty years, and the Director of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program.

Click here to learn more about Jean Shin’s FLOATING MAiZE, also at Brookfield Place.

Co-presented with Arts Brookfield and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) as part of River To River 2020: Four Voices.


Jean Shin is recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community engagement. Her work has been widely exhibited in over 150 major museums and cultural institutions including at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Storm King Art Center. Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in the United States, Shin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

A public program of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), River To River is Downtown New York City’s completely free summer arts festival. River To River celebrates artistic and creative diversity across disciplines, presenting live art and installation in public spaces and in partnership with leading institutions in Lower Manhattan. All events are free and all are welcome.

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