Discover Art’s Molecular Structure

LSU chemistry professor co-curates an exhibit at Louisiana Art & Science Museum through Sept. 3

Shelby Prindaville art

One of the pieces in the exhibit is Shelby Prindaville's "The Slightest Disturbance," 2016, 3P QuickCure Clay, acrylic and gloss varnish on birch panel.Photo Credit: Louisiana Art & Science Museum.

BATON ROUGE – Visitors to the Louisiana Art & Science Museum can discover the chemical compounds known as polymers that compose the most well-known materials, or media, used to make art through the centuries.

Co-curated by LSU Department of Chemistry Professor John Pojman, “Polymers in Art through the Centuries,” reveals the molecular structure of many natural and man-made chemical compounds composed of small molecules linked together to form chains, or polymers, and shows how they have been manipulated throughout art history by creative individuals as a means of expression. 

“Polymers are everywhere. We are made of them, [we] eat them and use synthetic polymers for almost every activity,” said Pojman, who teaches graduate courses in polymer chemistry at LSU.

Progressing from the natural materials used by ancient civilizations, like cellulose, which comes from plants, to the tempera and oil paints used by Renaissance artists and the emergence of synthetic plastics and polyesters, 20 artworks on display demonstrate the most prolific and well-known art media made of polymers, from lacquerware to 3D printing. Louisiana Art & Science Museum Director of Interpretation for Art Elizabeth Weinstein selected the artworks on display from the museum’s collection and invited the LSU Museum of Art, the LSU Costume and Textile Collection and several local artists to contribute examples. 

“Baton Rouge is a hub for the chemical industry. The exhibition truly centers upon human ingenuity and creativity, which are at the heart of both artistic and scientific pursuits,” Weinstein said. “Organized by time period, each polymer is represented by an artwork, a written description of its unique properties and a visual representation of its molecular structure.” 

“Polymers in Art through the Centuries” is open now and will run through Sept. 3. Support for this exhibition is provided in part by Louisiana Art & Science Museum members; City of Baton Rouge; Parish of East Baton Rouge; Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts as administered by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

About Louisiana Art & Science Museum

A nonprofit organization housed on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum enhances the understanding and appreciation of art and science for general audiences and students by presenting unique, educational and entertaining experiences that encourage discovery, inspire creativity and foster the pursuit of knowledge. More information about the Art & Science Museum is available at  

About Professor John Pojman 

A professor of chemistry at LSU, John Pojman is an expert on polymers and is the inventor of 3P QuickCure Clay. He has been researching frontal polymerization since 1991, and he began to work on a cure-on-demand material in 2008. By 2012, his 3P QuickCure Clay was being used by artists and others as a sculptural and repair material. More information about Professor Pojman and his clay can be found at


About Elizabeth Weinstein

Elizabeth Chubbuck Weinstein is director of interpretation for art at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. She is also the museum curator—a position she has held since 2002. In this capacity, she has curated numerous fine art exhibitions designed to address scientific as well as aesthetic concerns in addition to authoring related texts, delivering lectures, and organizing public programming to further engage visitors. 



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Hayley Paige Westphal
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