Pamela Longobardi

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Pamela Longobardi
Glen Ridge, N.J.
NationalityUnited States
EducationUniversity of Georgia (BFA)
Montana State University (MFA)[1]
Known foreco art, conceptual art, painting, installation, sculpture, plastic pollution, art activism
Years active2004–present

Pam Longobardi (born 1958) is an American contemporary eco artist and activist, currently living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. She is known internationally for sculptural works and installations created from plastic debris, primarily from marine and coastal environments, as a primary material. Much of her work includes community-based research, such as carbon or plastic audits, as well as collaborative art creation.

In 2014, Longobardi was awarded the title of Distinguished University Professor of Art at Georgia State, and was named Artist-in-Residence of the Oceanic Society.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Pam Longobardi grew up in Georgia, the child of an ocean lifeguard and a Delaware state diving champion, and credits her parents' relationship to the water with her own scientific and artistic interests. Longobardi moved to Atlanta in 1970.[3] She attended Dunwoody High School, and then Montana State University, earning a BS in Science Education in 1982. As she worked toward her MFA (received 1985) Longobardi worked as a scientific illustrator at the Museum of the Rockies under preeminent paleontologist Jack Horner, for whom she drew dinosaur bones and eggs. Her employment there included historical map-making as well, producing aerial maps of homesteads on the Lewis and Clark trail. In an interview with DRAIN magazine, Longobardi observes that "the best part about museums often are the storage archive[s]: the massive shelves and drawers in the basements. You can have an exploded tyrannosaurus rex skull splayed out on a table that you can try piecing together on your drawing breaks, next to a taxidermied coyote side by side with homestead artifacts from the early 1800s."[4] The entanglement of science and art is central to Longobardi's practice and aesthetic: "I see some aspects of the methodology of the artist and scientist as very similar: long periods of intensive research, immersion in materials to better understand their properties, inquisitiveness and curiosity as driving forces, a desire to unpack ‘reality’ to better understand our relationship to it."[4]


Since 2006, Longobardi has been engaged in The Drifters Project,[3] a series of sculpture and installation works that examine and exhibit the scale and impact of plastic pollution in the marine environment (aka plastic drift) as one major indicator of the environmental changes taking place in the Anthropocene.

Longobardi also produces paintings with an "elemental aesthetic," incorporating natural processes such as chemical patinas that also crystallize; light-sensitive photo imaging, magnetism, mirror reflection, after-image, and phosphorescence.[5]

The Drifters Project[edit]

The Drifters Project began in 2006, its name taken from the term drift – objects that are carried by currents and air. Ocean drift is, today, primarily plastic. Longobardi has collected this drift plastic to create abstract sculptures and installations. One iteration of The Drifters Project was displayed at the 2009 Venice Biennale, at the ARTE VISIVI collateral exhibitions. In 2010, Edizione Charta (Milan, NY) produced a catalog of selected works from the Project.

"All these things collapse for me in the drifting ocean plastic object: it IS an artifact of my specific human evolutionary time; it IS made from petroleum that is the fossil sunlight and ancient plants, animals and yes, dinosaurs, that roamed the past Earth; it IS a biological raft for invasive creatures; it IS a toxic floating time bomb that is changing the human and animal body and the very ocean itself; and it IS a future fossil of the Anthropocene."[4]

The GYRE Project[edit]

In 2013 Longobardi was selected to be lead artist in the GYRE Expedition, an art-science research expedition that assembled a team of notable marine scientists, journalists, filmmakers and artists to trawl remote Alaskan coastlines and to document collaboratively the impacts of plastic pollution on these delicate ecosystems. Her colleagues on the expedition included chief exhibition scientist Carl Safina, artist Mark Dion, science photographer J.J. Kelly, artist Alexis Rockman, photographer Andy Hughes, and others: all of these are featured, along with Longobardi, in a twenty-minute National Geographic film, GYRE, which aired in 2013. The artistic outcomes from this expedition were shown first at the GYRE exhibition in Anchorage, Alaska, a major show which later travelled to the CDC's Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. Longobardi's contributions include "Economies of Scale" and "[Plastic Cornucopia]," both characteristic of her sculptural found-plastic installations.[6]


  • 2017 Expedition Participant, Mission Blue Expedition to Balearic Island Hope Spot [Spain]
  • 2016 Focus Fellowship Award; Special Honorary Mention for Plastic Free Island (short film), Cinemare International Ocean Film Festival, Kiel, Germany; Bronze Award, Short Films Category, Spotlight Film Awards; Artist Residency Fellowship, Ionian Center for Arts and Culture (Kefalonia, Greece)
  • 2015 Finalist, Best Short Documentary and Best Emerging Director, BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit (Monaco)
  • 2014 Distinguished University Professor, Georgia State University
  • 2014 Artist-in-Residence of the Oceanic Society
  • 2013 The Hudgens Prize[1]
  • 2005 Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award, Georgia State University

Selected reviews[edit]

  • Alaimo, Stacy. 2016. Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Post-Human Times.Univ of Minnesota Press. 138-140,188, Figure 8.
  • Baker, Shanna, Hakai Magazine, “New Wave Art,” April 22[7]
  • Bellows, Layla, “Plastic Reduction Atlanta Took On the Plastic Straw,” Atlanta Magazine, August[8]
  • Borek, Barbara, “Wasser-Kulturen: Die Austellung Bitteres Wasser,” Art in Berlin[9]
  • Butler, Jared. 2015. “Hathaway Contemporary Sets the Bar High,” *Breedlove, Byron, Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Burnaway[10]
  • Childress, Courtney, “Sideshow on MarsCenters for Disease Control 21, No. 4 (April)
  • DiFrisco, Emily, “From Bali to Komodo: Documenting Plastic Pollution”, Plastic Free Times[11]
  • Eaton, Natasha, International Journal of Maritime History, Book Review, ‘Framing the Ocean’ p. 587-90[12]
  • Feaster, Felicia, “Group Show at new gallery Abounds with Interesting Work,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May16[13]
  • Grout, Pam, “A Relational Existence: Art as Powerful Voice to Spark Social Change,” ArtDesk 5 (Fall/Winter): 18
  • Hansel, Sally, ‘Terrible Beauty: A Conversation with Pam Longobardi,’ Sculpture Magazine, April
  • Jeffery, Celina, “Artists Curate the Expedition,” The Artist As Curator. Chicago: Intellect Books.
  • Jeffery, Celina. 2016. “Pam Longobardi: The Ocean Gleaner,” DRAIN Magazine[14]
  • Kontra, Ally. 2016. “From Trash to Treasure: Plastic Pollution in the Pacific”[15]
  • Meier, Allison, “Artists Confront the Plastic Pollution of Our Ocean,” HYPERALLERGIC, Sept 1
  • Ragan, Sheila, “State of the Art is an Unstuffy Contemporary Art Show for All, City Pages, Minneapolis, Feb 19[16]
  • Relyea, Laura. 2016. “David Hathaway to Open on the Westside,” ArtsATL, Jan 4 year[17]
  • Sentman, Wayne, “Dragons to Debris: An Oceanic Society Expedition to Komodo,”[18]
  • Shaw, Kurt, “Art Review: Second Nature at James Gallery,” Pittsburg Tribune (Oct 7,
  • Simons, Tad, LostWknd at Minneapolis Institute of Art [1]
  • Valentine, Ben, ‘One Artist’s Quest to Turn Beach Plastic Into Art’, HYPERALLERGIC (Aug 26, 2015) [2]
  • Vega, Muriel, “Hathaway David Contemporary Opens with Inaugural Exhibition", Creative Loafing, April 26[19]
  • Wagner-Lawlor, Jennifer. 2016. “Regarding Intimacy, Regard, and Transformative Feminist Practice in the Art of Pamela Longobardi,” Feminist Studies 42.3: 649-688[20]
  • Webb, Victoria, “Hathaway David Contemporary in Atlanta,” Furious Dreams, [3]


  1. ^ a b Longobardi, Pamela. "Resume" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Drifters Project". The Oceanic Society.
  3. ^ a b Longobardi, Pamela. "About". The Drifters Project. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Jeffery, Celina. "Pam Longobardi: The Ocean Gleaner". Drain Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  5. ^ Longobardi, Pamela. "Longobardi Homepage GSU". Georgia State University. GSU. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  6. ^ Howard, Ben. "Filmmakers Document". National Geographic. Smithsonian. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Bellows, Layla. "Plastic Reduction Atlanta Took On the Plastic Straw". Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  9. ^ Borek, Barbara. "Wasser-Kulturen: Die Austellung Bitteres Wasser". art-in-berlin. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Hathaway Contemporary Sets the Bar High".
  11. ^ Longobardi, Pam. "From Bali to Komodo: Documenting Plastic Pollution".
  12. ^
  13. ^ Feaster, Felicia. "Group Show at new gallery Abounds with Interesting Work". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Pam Longobardi: The Ocean Gleaner - Drain Magazine".
  15. ^ Kontra, Ally. "From Trash to Treasure". Kontra. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Relyea, Laura. "David Hathaway to Open on the West Side". Relyea. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  18. ^ sentman, Wayne. "DragonstoDebris[". OceanicSociety. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  19. ^ vega, Muriel. "Hathaway David Contemporary Opens with Inaugural Exhibition".
  20. ^ "Feminist Studies issue 42.3".