Memorial Stadium Astroturf Finds New Life as Art Project

If you ever wondered what happened to the Astroturf in Memorial Stadium, wonder no more. A group of Berkeley graduate art students discovered mountains of the discarded playing field languishing behind a shed at the Richmond Field Station.

Inspired by the shear bulk of available material, the students decided to use the plastic grass to create an art exhibit dedicated to both "conceptual and contextual notions of Astroturf."

The exhibit, "A Level Playing Field: Astroturf Art," opens Tuesday, March 11, with a reception at 4 p.m. in the Worth Ryder Gallery in Kroeber Hall. The exhibit runs through March 21.

Pieces in the exhibit include an image of "The Play," the famous final- minute, five-lateral touchdown win over Stanford in 1982, silkscreened on a piece of the Astroturf.

The artificial turf was considered a state-of-the-art playing surface when it was first installed in Memorial Stadium in 1981. By the 1990s, its appeal began to wane, as reports of injuries to players increased. The stadium returned to a natural-grass field in 1995.


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