The Plastic Bag Store
Daily Showings, Wednesdays through Saturdays | 1pm, 3pm, 5pm & 7pm
Located at 20 Times Square (47th St & 7th Ave)
The Plastic Bag Store was open for a limited exhibition period in the fall of 2020 after being postponed in March 2020.
For those who weren’t able to visit The Plastic Bag Store in-person, sign up for the Times Square Arts newsletter to receive updates on virtual visits, an artist talk, and a feature-length film to be released in the spring of 2021, commissioned by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.
Times Square Arts is proud to present The Plastic Bag Store, a public art installation and immersive film by artist and director Robin Frohardt employing humor, craft, and a critical lens to our culture of consumption and convenience — specifically, the enduring effects of our single-use plastics.
Free and open to the public, The Plastic Bag Store will occupy 20 Times Square, where shelves will be stocked with thousands of original, hand-sculpted items — produce and meat, dry goods and toiletries, cakes and sushi rolls — all made from discarded, single-use plastics in an endless flux of 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 is a visually rich, tactile, and humorous experience that hopefully encourages a different way of thinking about the foreverness of plastic, the permanence of the disposable, and that there is no ‘away’ when we throw something out. It is my attempt to make something authentic and human from that which is mass-produced. There is great humor to be found in the pitfalls of capitalism, and I find that humor and satire can be powerful tools for social criticism especially with issues that feel too sad and overwhelming to confront directly."
—Artist Robin Frohardt
Known for her bold aesthetic and highly detailed constructions, Frohardt is an award-winning artist, puppet designer, and director based in Brooklyn, NY. Skilled at taking a simple premise to an elaborate realization, her vibrant imagination, unique sense of humor, and meticulous technical craft come together to create work that defies the conventions of traditional storytelling.
The Plastic Bag Store’s opening coincides with the reinstatement of New York’s plastic bag ban on October 19, 2020 — several months after it was paused due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this fraught political and environmental landscape, on both a policy and personal level, we’re witnessing an increased consciousness around the legacies we are passing on to future generations, and how our culture of convenience will impact this earth for many years to come. In The Plastic Bag Store, Robin tackles these global concerns and the concept of ‘forever’ through the lens of a single plastic bag.
“Within the unassuming, amusing, and completely illogical proposal of a ‘plastic bag store,’ Robin is addressing capitalism, consumerism, and climate change, and asking big questions about how what we value the least can become our most consequential inheritance. At the same time, this project is shifting our perception of our everyday surroundings - once you visit The Plastic Bag Store, you can’t unsee that our irrational and outrageous relationship to plastic is real.”
—Jean Cooney, Director, Times Square Arts
“At a time when we are whiplashed daily by the news of the day, Robin’s work prods us, with creativity and wit, to think not just about the next two weeks, but also about the next two decades and the next two centuries. What will remain hundreds of years hence? In Times Square, we hope that our legacy will be plays rather than piles of plastics, shows rather than scraps, imagination rather than excess.”
—Tim Tompkins, President, Times Square Alliance
The Plastic Bag Store is created, written, designed, and directed by Robin Frohardt and produced by Pomegranate Arts, which is led by Executive Producer Linda Brumbach and Associate Producer Alisa Regas. It features original music by Freddi Price.
The Plastic Bag Store is commissioned by Times Square Arts with generous support provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the National Endowment for the Arts; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional commissioning support has been provided by Carolina Performing Arts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was developed with support from: MANA Contemporary, The Made in NY Women’s Film, TV & Theatre Fund by the City of New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in association with The New York Foundation for the Arts; Olson Kundig; The Jim Henson Foundation; and is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC). The Plastic Bag Store film segments were commissioned by the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA with additional support by the Adelaide Festival. The Plastic Bag Store is a project of Creative Capital. Produced by Robin Frohardt and Pomegranate Arts.
The Plastic Bag Store would not be possible without the generous support of Mark Siffin, CEO of Maefield Development and owner of 20 Times Square. For more than a decade, Siffin has delivered passionate support for the Times Square community and the Times Square Alliance, and has long been a champion of the performing and visual arts within the district and beyond.
Photography by Maria Baranova for Times Square Arts and Robin Frohardt.
Graphic design by PMS, Panny Mars Studio @pms.nyc