ecoartspace NYC 2010 benefit “What Matters Most”

ecoartspace invites you to participate in our first NYC benefit exhibition titled What Matters Most? The show and benefit party will be hosted by Exit Art in NYC from April 15 – 28th, 2010.

What Matters Most? will begin with responses to this question posted on Monday February 15th on Andrew Revkin’s NY Times blog, Dot Earth by leading environmental experts, writers and readers. Participating artists will have the option of creating an original artwork related to the blog entry of their choice or donating an existing work.

All proceeds from this fundraiser will support ecoartspace activities and programs. ecoartspace has been operating as a bicoastal nonprofit platform for artists addressing environmental issues since 1999. In our ten years of programming we have worked with over 400 artists, curated 38 exhibitions, 70 programs and collaborated with over 140 organizations. To celebrate our achievements as well as raise money for future programs we recently held our first benefit auction at Mina Dresden Gallery in San Francisco on December 4th, 2009.

What Matters Most? begins Thurs April 15, 2010 and ends with our Benefit Sale: Thursday, April 28th , 2010. Please click on the image above for more detailed information.

Artists participating as of 2.13.10 include:

Joan Bankemper, Andrea Reynosa, Joy Garnett, Chrysanne Stathacos, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Diane Burko, Sandy Gellis, Fritz Haeg, Steven Siegel, Joanne Greenbaum, Lisa Hoke, Dove Bradshaw, Jaanika Peerna, Chris Kennedy, Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Teri Hackett, Elizabeth Demaray, Robert Lobe, Kathleen Gilje, David Schafer, Claudia Hart, Lori Nozick, Christy Rupp, Kathe Burkhart, Joanne Howard, Abigail Doan, Alan Wexler, Charles Goldman, Marion Wilson, Emily Brown, Katie Holten, Robin Kahn, Nina Yankowitz, Carter Hodgkin, Geoffrey Hendricks, Nina Katchadourian, Hunter Reynolds, Erik Hanson, Janet Pihlblad, Kunie Suguira, J.J. L’Hereux, Austin Thomas, Mikael Levin, Rhona Bitner, Michael Somoroff, Sandi Sloane, Jill Levine, Steve Keister, Alison Moritsugu, LC Armstrong, Stacy Levy, Jan Harrison, David Webster, Simon Draper, Mary Mattingly, Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Ann Rosenthal, Steffi Domike, Mary Ann Strandell.

We give thanks to the Exit Art staff for their support. This event is a continuation of our relationship with their Social-Environmental Aesthetic (SEA) program including our participation in The Drop exhibition in 2006 and EPA in 2008.

Amy Lipton and Patricia Watts

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ecoartspace fundraising activities 2009-2010

Cannot believe February is here already. Was meaning to make a post a couple weeks ago to provide an update on the ecoartspace SF Benefit fundraiser in December! We would really like to thank Jessica Resmond and Alan So with ME;D1.ATE who produce the biannual Soundwave Festival in San Francisco. It was a quick email and meeting back in September that prompted our collaborative effort to do a silent auction and performance event to help us both raise money for upcoming programs. This year’s Soundwave Festival has a green sound theme for 2010, so it made sense that we would partner. With only two months lead time to pull it together, we succeeded in bringing in over 60 donations of artworks and ephemera, located an awesome gallery space at Mina Dresden Gallery, attracted approximately 100 attendees, and rallied donations of foods from Marin French Cheese Company, Bi-Rite Market, Terra Savia, Woodbridge Winery, and Paulding & Company Kitchen. The art was inspiring, musical performances moving, and foods very delicious. We were able to raise enough (although modest) to start the new year off feeling like there is still hope in these tough economic times. And, Amy Lipton, Director of ecoartspace NYC, is now underway with plans for an East Coast fundraiser event this Spring. She will be announcing more information soon as plans start to gel (shooting for April/May).

View benefit pictures on Flickr here.

We still have a few artworks available as well here.

So far this year is promising some exciting shows including The Ins and the Outs an outdoor sculpture exhibition at Rockland Center for the Arts in Nyack, New York opening April 11th; MAKE:CRAFT which opens at the Otis College of Art and Design, Ben Maltz Gallery on October 4th. And, an invitation to participate in the Art Boom Festival in Krakow, Poland in June.

More soon on all fronts.

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Artist’s Talk by Kimberley Hart at Mixed Greens Gallery, NYC

On Saturday December 12, 2009, New York artist Kimberley Hart gave a talk about her recent exhibition Scout at Mixed Greens in Chelsea. The event was co-sponsored by ecoartspace and NYFA.

The works in Scout contemplate specific themes surrounding self-sufficiency, sustainability, observation, labor, cultivation, exploration, defense and tenacity.

Before mentioning any of the artworks in the show, Kimberley began by explaining that her new body of work came out of major life changes involving food and her interest around issues of agricultural sustainability. In the past few years, in an effort to eat healthy locally grown foods, she decided to give up all convenience foods and made a conscious effort to eat mostly organic foods. Kimberley feels that to a large part – many current environmental problems are due to our culture’s worship of convenience. To confront this dependence, Kimberley gave up packaged foods, ate strictly whole foods and eventually consumed only local and sustainably farmed food. She instituted a “no plastic” rule in her home which began with giving up bottled water and proceeded to take out containers, plastic bags and all plastic packaging.

Kimberley was influenced by reading many current popular books on the food revolution such as Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma which led her towards living a more sustainable life. She started urban homesteading, canning, composting, and cutting garbage down to one small bag a week. She joined a CSA, bought only grass fed, pastured meats and stopped eating out or ordering take-out. She is striving to have as small of a footprint as possible and is giving serious thought to starting a farm on a former cattle ranch in the South. This passion about food, sustainability, farming, and stewardship, led Kimberley to meet various people involved with permaculture and the transition movement, environmentalists and social justice advocates. She feels that as an artist she is coming from a different place but can potentially end up with similar and interrelated solutions.

In order to create this new show, Kimberley spent time contemplating a way to integrate her new outlook on life and focus on sustainability and self-sufficiency into her artwork. She decided to continue utilizing narrative and allegory as in her past bodies of work. Through drawing and sculpture, she exposes her alter ego represented as a mischievous, irreverent young girl who is self-reliant but more vulnerable and suspicious than in years past. Though noticeably absent from the work, this girl was once full of sparkles and glitter. She is no longer fantasizing about her hunting prowess or setting traps for inappropriate prey. Instead, we find her hunkered down in an austere outpost with few essentials and a concern for an unknown adversary. There are vestiges of a carefree girlhood, but the tenor has changed—a sense of uncertainty has eroded her daring as she struggles to maintain some bravery in the face of a new, foreboding reality.

The works in the exhibition reveal her alter ego’s surroundings, shelter and possessions. A “bank” holds prized, as well as scavenged, provisions and doubles as a repository for a personal currency and objects to barter in this new world. Beautifully crafted, ominous vultures skulk and spread their wings near a pivotal piece titled, The Death of Sparkle. While Kimberley’s alter ego has proven to be equally prissy and cunning in past exhibitions, she is now overwhelmed by apprehensions and threatened by the malicious marauder responsible for Sparkle’s death.

Fantasy and fine craftsmanship remain hallmarks of her work, but the tone has shifted to reflect a change—both imagined and real—in her environment. There is a marked shift in her alter ego from mischief-maker of the vernal woodlands to a menaced and solitary defender in a dystopic landscape.

“In an allegory of our shared hopes and fears, an itinerant, young heroine and an elusive, predatory force struggle for prominence. Survival for these characters is symbiotic; their lives intertwine in a closed loop of cause and effect where the lonely girl, in the face of a malicious entity and in a degrading environment, maintains an acute sense of optimism through her own perseverance. This dystopian fantasy explores an uncertain future, an existence outside of modern convenience where subsistence is the primary concern. Referencing issues ranging from institutional critique, environmental stewardship, egalitarianism and our shared literary and visual culture, this work of speculative fiction offers a potential outcome to our current socioeconomic crisis.

We are all scouts now.” Kimberley Hart, 2009

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Happy New Year from ecoartspace

From Top Left to bottom Right: David Haley, Emily Brown, Samantha Fields, Christy Rupp, Sant Khalsa, Jason Middlebrook, Joy Garnett, Susan Leibovitz Steinman, and Sandy Gellis.

We are looking forward to some exciting shows and programs in 2010 as we venture into our 11th year working together as a bicoastal environmental art nonprofit. Please check out our website by mid-month to see updates and check back here on our blog for several upcoming posts on our activities in December and some exciting new artists/works we have been keeping an eye on.

Shall 2010 be a turning point for us all in our efforts to help others see the world around them with new eyes.

Tricia Watts and Amy Lipton

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ecoartspace fundraising efforts

Happy Holidays from ecoartspace . . . .

On the eve of COP15 we are asking for your support!

ecoartspace has been operating as a bicoastal nonprofit platform for artists addressing environmental issues since 1999 (founded 1997 in Los Angeles). In our ten years of programming we have curated 38 exhibitions, 70 programs and have worked with over 400 artists. And, we have collaborated with over 140 organizations. To celebrate our achievements as well as raise money for future programs we recently held a benefit auction in San Francisco on December 4th. This event, although short in planning, was well attended and over twenty works of art were sold to help raise funds for projects planned in 2010. Examples include commissioning artists to create site-specific works in the public sphere, an artist in residency, development of an archive, and video editing for taped interviews with eco-artists.

There are more works available for purchase which you can view HERE and which can be purchased online through the end of this year, 2009. We invite you to consider either buying a work of art or making a donation of any size to ecoartspace today.

Thanks for your support!

Patricia Watts, founder and west coast curator

Artists who have donated include:

Amy Franceschini, Andrea Polli, Fritz Haeg, Craig Roper, Stephen Kaltenbach, Ned Kahn, Kim Abeles, Samantha Fields, Lisa Adams, Kim Stringfellow, Josh Keys, Nils-Udo, Roy Staab, Christopher Kennedy, Mark Andrew Gravel, Gary Brewer, Aline Mare, Alicia Escott, Judith Selby Lang, Vaughn Bell, Basia Irland, Besty Damon, Robin Lasser and Marguerite Pao, Abigail Doan, Beverly Naidus, Shai Zakai, Lillian Ball, Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao, Mark Brest van Kempen, John Roloff, Ed Morris and Susannah Sayler, Tao Urban, Linda McDonald, Christy Rupp, Karen Reitzel, Philip Krohn, Jorge Bachmann, Kim Anno, Sarah Pedlow, Kathryn Miller and Michael Honer, Marksearch, Aviva Rahmani, Virginia Stearn, Ann Rosenthal, Therese Lahaie, Ruri, Raheleh Zomorodinia, Shan Wells, and Seth Kinmont.

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Xavier Cortada "Native Flags" at Verge Miami

In conjunction with ecoartspace, Miami-based artist Xavier Cortada will present a participatory artwork titled Native Flags and invites everyone attending the Verge Art Fair as well as the general public to collaborate in the creation of the work.

Melting polar sea ice has global political powers clamoring to place their flags over the Arctic to control the Northwest Passage shipping lanes and the petroleum and mineral resources beneath the ice. Cortada developed Native Flags as an eco-art project to engage people globally in a reforestation campaign to prevent the polar regions from melting. At home, participants can also plant a native tree next to Cortada’s green flag and ask their neighbors to do the same. Together, they can help to support the regrowth of the planet’s native tree canopies – one yard at a time.

On June 29th, 2008, Xavier Cortada arrived at the North Pole and planted a green flag to reclaim the landscape for nature. The trip was sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) as part of Cortada’s larger 90N project. The work addresses global climate change and included the reinstallation of Cortada’s Longitudinal Installation and Endangered World projects as part of a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artist and Writers residency.

Cortada has created art installations at the Earth’s poles to generate awareness about global climate change and has developed participatory art projects to engage communities in local action at points in between. Cortada’s work created during his National Science Foundation Antarctic Residency has been exhibited in museums including: Weather Report, curated by Lucy Lippard at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007, and Envisioning Change, a United Nations Environment Programme-sponsored exhibition which opened in Oslo, Norway in June 2007. Cortada launched the Reclamation Project in 2006 to remind Miami Beach residents and visitors of the island’s origins as a mangrove forest by having over 2500 mangrove seedlings displayed in shop windows across the island. Annually, volunteers plant the seedlings on Biscayne Bay.

Catalina Hotel, 1732 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida Opening preview reception: Thursday December 3rd, from 6 to 10pm Friday & Saturday, December 4-5, noon to 8pm Sunday, December 6th, noon to 6pm

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Isolation is the essence of Land Art (WDM)

It has been over 20 years since I was in New Mexico. When I considered why this was, I realized that most of the places I’ve traveled to for art events in the US have been where CAA, AAM, or AFTA conferences usually take place, like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, and New York City. I guess a city needs to have at least 1,500 contiguous hotel rooms adjacent to a conference center to host a large conference, which Albuquerque does not have (yet). In general, most people travel to Santa Fe to see the opera, go to galleries and in the last decade to visit Site Santa Fe, an international contemporary art biennial that began in 1995. This is a town that boasts over 250 galleries with under 150,000 residents! With so much focus on the arts, it seems like there should be more of an “art world” presence. Even Lucy Lippard, Nancy Holt, and Bruce Nauman call New Mexico home (out of approximately 1 million people in the entire state). And, it is the home to Walter De Maria’s The Lightening Field.

Last spring I was invited to give a lecture in November at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque by Bill Gilbert, artist, professor and founder of The Land Arts of the American West program (2000). I had seen a call for artists for a LAND/ART New Mexico project in fall 2008 and was curious who all was involved. When the program was formally announced and I saw that they had organized multiple events, exhibitions, site-specific installations, lectures, and plans for a publication, I was very impressed with the scale and proud to be included. The program began in May and will wrap up in November. Over 25 organizations in New Mexico have participated with 516 Arts, Suzanne Barge – Project Coordinator, taking the lead. Formally titled Land Art: Art Nature Community, a collaborative exploration of land-based art in New Mexico, the program has exhibited work by international artists including the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Patrick Dougherty, Andrea Polli (the new Director of the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media (IFDM) Program at UNM), Eve Andrée Laramée, Erika Blumenfeld and important art and ecology artists from New Mexico including Basia Irland, William Gilbert, and Catherine Harris (recently appointed Art & Ecology professor at UNM). The list of guest speakers included Rebecca Solnit, Nancy Holt, David Abrams, and a performance and discussion with Laurie Anderson, just to name a few. The program was a herculean effort and is to be commended. I would highly suggest getting a copy of the culminating LAND/ART New Mexico book due out in December including an essay by Lucy Lippard. And, add to that list the recently published book Land Arts of the American West documenting the program of the same name by William Gilbert and Chris Taylor.

One of the highlights of my trip was going to The Lightening Field (TLF). It was on my list of things to do for many years and seemed the right time to do it being in New Mexico for the Land Art program. When I arrived into Albuquerque Airport there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. Driving to TLF from Albuquerque takes about three hours, south and west towards the Arizona border. In the small town of Quemado you sign in at the DIA Foundation office. Here you leave your car and Robert Weathers, TLF manager, drives you out into the middle of nowhere to a WPA era cabin about 45 minutes away. After checking out the rustic chic accommodations (great sheets/towels and Hudson Bay blankets), and getting to know my cabin mates (Stevie Famulari, Assistant Professor at NDSU and environmental artists, and Paul Socolow, a Bay Area de-employed Land Art aficionado), we three ventured out into the field to take a look. This was Stevie’s second trip to TLF and she was well versed how to experience the work. About an hour before sunset she prompted us to get outside (it was around 30 degrees, expecting to drop below 20 at night). As we walked out into the poles the sunlight was shining bright on the stainless steel tips which were not as tall as I had imagine and lighter and more flexible than I would have thought. The rounded tips looked so sculptural and rocketship like. It took a while to get it, but walking inside of the field of poles is when you feel like it is an artwork, not looking at it from the distance like it is an object. It expands the longer you walk inside the poles, it seems to gain another row and another row as the darkness sets in and the setting sun reflects on the poles. We were walking in mud and snow, which was building up on our shoes while noticing rabbit holes and horses hoof prints along the way. It was a full moon, the sky was clear, although hard to see the poles after the sun had set. In the morning as the sun comes up the poles to the west are most visible, in reverse of last night where the eastern portion of the field was most visible at sunset. TLF was installed September – October in 1977. In fact October 31st, the next morning after staying over night was the 32nd anniversary of TLF and the last day of the season for staying over night until next April.


Stainless steel tubing

400 poles, 220 feet apart

5,280 East/West & 3,303 feet North/South

Tallest pole is 26.72 feet, average height is 20.62 feet

A few of the tallest poles have been replaced due to high winds

Each mile long row contains 25 poles

Total weight 38,000 lbs

In 1974 there was a test field in Northern Arizona (later owned by Virginia Dwan and donated to Dia unassembled in 1996). There were 35 stainless tell poles with pointed tips each 18 feet tall and 200 feet apart. The land was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Burton Tremaine. It resided there from 1974-76, then was moved.

Robert Weathers has been the caretaker since 1980

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Green Sight + Sound


A Benefit for ecoartspace: Celebrating Ten Years of Art and Ecology Programs
& ME’DI.ATE’s Soundwave ((4)) Festival 2010.



Dear Friends and Supporters of ecoartspace: We are very excited to invite you to our 10 year celebration event in San Francisco!

IMPORTANT INFO: If you can not attend please show your support for ecoartspace through a tax-deductible donation
Go to (be sure to type in ecoartspace in the project box).
Your donation of $20, $30, $50 or more will help us to continue our art and ecology programs in 2010.

Silent Auction of small works by over 30 environmental artists including affordable ephemera & signed catalogues just in time for the holidays! Artists include: Amy Franceschini, Andrea Polli, Fritz Haeg, Stephen Kaltenbach, Kim Abeles, Samantha Fields, Lisa Adams, Kim Stringfellow, Roy Staab, Christopher Kennedy, Mark Andrew Gravel, Gary Brewer, Judith Selby Lang, Vaughn Bell, Basia Irland, Abigail Doan, Lillian Ball, Robin Lasser and Adrienne Pao, Mark Brest van Kempen, John Roloff, Ed Morris and Susannah Sayler, Linda McDonald, Christy Rupp, Karen Reitzel, Philip Krohn, Jorge Bachmann, Kim Anno, Sarah Pedlow, Kathryn Miller, Aviva Rahmani, Therese Lahaie, Ruri, and more.

Bay Area foodies unite! We will be serving Wine-Appetizers-Sweets by Terra Savia, Bi-Rite, Marin French Cheese Company, Paulding & Company Kitchen, Woodbridge Winery and other Bay Area purveyors.

And, special performances by acclaimed singer/song-writer Odessa Chen, electroacoustic sensations Myrmyr, guitarist Danny Paul Grody & other special guests.

Mina Dresden Gallery
312 Valencia @ 14th street
San Francisco, California

Friday, December 4th, 2009
Doors open at 6pm | Live Performances at 7pm
Art Auction Preview:
Friday December 4th 12pm-4pm

Tickets are $30 in advance and $50 for two, $35 at the door

ecoartspace ( and

Since 1999, Patricia Watts and Amy Lipton of ecoartspace, have provided a platform for artists who address environmental issues internationally. During this time they have organized 38 exhibitions, over 70 programs, and have worked with over 400 artists. Their total budget has been almost $800,000, of which $280,000 was paid directly to artists for site-specific installations. Their programs have been viewed or attended by more than 200,000 people, and they have collaborated/partnered with over 140 organizations.


The fourth season of Soundwave, happening throughout Summer 2010, will be the most adventurous yet. Artists, composers and musicians will explore our sonic connections to the environment investigating the wonders of natural world, and examining environmental responsibility and sustainability through awe-inspiring performances and installations.


Founded in 1998, ME’DI.ATE is a San Francisco-based art organization creating experiential art through products, exhibitions, and live events. ME’DI.ATE is the mastermind behind the acclaimed Soundwave, the most innovative sound/art/music festival in the Bay Area. Bringing together some of the most compelling sound purveyors from across the sonic spectrum. Soundwave produces experiential performances that challenge the way you see and hear sound and music.


Patricia Watts and Amy Lipton
ecoartspace 1999-2009’s International Day of Climate Action at ecoartspace NYC

On October 24th in conjunction with’s International Day of Climate Action, ecoartspace NYC will screen 3 films on a rotating schedule between 12 – 6pm.

Eva Bakkeslett‘s Alchemy: The Poetry of Bread
A poetic evocation on the alchemy of b
read brings the act of baking the most basic of staples, into a high art form.

Jacinto Astiazaran & Fritz Haeg

The Sto
ry of Mannahatta and the Lenape Edible Estate: Manhattan
As told by Eric San
derson of the Mannahatta Project.
Ever wondered what New York looked like before it was a city? Welcome to Mannahatta, 1609. Now, after nearly a decade of research, the Mannahatta Project at the Wildlife Conservation Society has un-covered the original ecology of Manhattan.

Lenore Malen & The New Society for Universal Harmony
I Am The Animal That I Am
Narrates the grave threat to the bee population including “colony collapse disorder” from the perspective of 6 Hudson Valley Beekeepers.

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ecoartspace NYC fall events

This fall we have had a whirlwind of events since early September and time is flying by, the leaves are starting to come down in the Hudson Valley, the temperature is dropping and sadly the gardening season is finished.

The season began with the opening of Down to Earth: Artists Create Edible Landscapes at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia on September 12th. This exhibition highlights the growing focus and emergence of “green” principles and sustainability in relationship to food, art, design and agriculture. The exhibition includes six artists or artist teams who created socially engaging interventions in the landscape. Their works are related to growing indigenous food, the healing properties of plants, sustainable agriculture, water irrigation, permaculture planting, recycling of materials and deer grazing, all creating an aesthetic and cultural link between art and cultivation of the land.

Several current popular books and films about food’s relation to sustainability have helped to propel a new generation of public interest in issues related to organic growing, heirloom seeds, eating and purchasing local food, farmers markets and back yard vegetable gardens. Also being investigated in the media are the negative consequences of monoculture planting and factory farming practices, and the inhumane treatment of livestock in industrial agriculture. The economic downturn and rising fuel and grocery prices have also motivated a new focus on sustainability in relation to food.

Many artists have been engaging these important ecological and social issues in the past few years. The Schuylkill Center presented a unique opportunity for artists to interact with the landscape, with its preserved open space and agricultural history. Down to Earth at Brolo Farm, is presented at an abandoned farm site and each of the artists has created a large-scale outdoor work on this four-acre location.

Making artworks with living components such as plants and water takes a vastly different approach than creating or placing traditional objects in the landscape. These art projects are dependent on the unpredictability of weather and forces of nature including animals and insects. The implication of potential damage and risks involved in the works surviving have forced the artists to acknowledge that like gardeners, they are merely collaborators with nature. They took on this complex challenge with skill and with the help of many staff members, volunteers, students and friends.

After six months of hard work on the projects, constant worry about the weather and water resources being shared, we opened to a day long gathering of at least 200 people. The weather forecast was rain for the entire day – but miraculously the rain held off until just after 6pm when the opening was over. I led a tour group of each project beginning with Joan Bankempers Willa, A Medicinal Herb Garden. Joan spoke about the significance of herbs historically, how they were used as medicine by healers and midwives for hundreds of years but were discouraged in the past century due to modern medicine frowning on the practice. She made the timely connection to our present day health care crisis by encouraging visitors to take a preventative approach to wellness by learning about the healing properties of plants and distributed an informational color brochure she had produced for the occasion. Titled Willa after the Paleolithic fertility figure Venus of Willendorf, Joan’s fifty-ft. garden is modeled after this archaic form. Contained inside the figure are seven circles representing Hindu chakras or energy centers from root to crown. Each chakra is planted with herbs and flowers that can respectively lead to healing for that area of the body. (Joan’s printed handout makes the connection of each chakra in the human body – and a list of associated healing plants.) The overall design of this project also reflects on the 1970’s work of Feminist artist Ana Mendieta, well known for her Silueta series of figurative Earthworks which involved carving her imprint directly into mud or sand.

Next on the tour was Stacy Levy speaking about her sculptural fence installation Kept Out. This work provides an opportunity to investigate how the deer alter their own edible landscape. The deer’s meal choices affect the growth of the forest and the field: their grazing results in fewer seedlings of native tree, shrub and herbaceous species. Due to human influence, deer populations are out of balance and destroying the sustainability of their own food sources in the field and forests. Stacy created two versions of this piece, the first was a prototype on her own woodland site in mid-PA where she worked out the pattern of criss-crossing tall blue metal poles as a deer fence. Stacy spoke about the ways in which deer are ravaging the landscape, eating everything in sight – the end result of which means that far fewer trees ever make it to maturity beyond deer grazing height. This has serious implications and consequences for the future of unprotected woodlands and forests. Since we no longer have large predators for the deer (other than humans in cars and deer hunters in season), they are over-populating. Stacy brought up the fact that we all love to see deer in the landscape and equate seeing them with “nature”, but the irony being that the deer by consuming all their resources will leave nothing left to eat for future deer generations (sound familiar?). The larger unanswered question is what to do about the continuing growth in human population that leaves less and less room for deer and other wild species to roam and eat.

Following Stacy was a water leveling demonstration by artist Knox Cummin. His functioning rainwater collection sculpture, titled Not Drain Away provided the water for Ann Rosenthal and Steffi Domike’s American Roots Garden. The three artists decided to collaborate early on in the project, which worked out beneficially for all. Since it rained for a solid month in June, the garden thrived but later in dry, hot August we had to resort to hand watering. Not Drain Away takes the shape of a twenty-ft. square room and is built out of wood attached to the roof of the existing farmhouse. It is complete with rain barrels, piping and an irrigation system. The water collection system is gravity powered and uses no external energy to operate. By collecting rainwater, there is no additional load on the municipal water supply or well water. This elaborate sculpture combines craftsmanship, art and design, proving the case that art can be both functional and aesthetic.

Contained inside the structure of Not Drain Away, is a vegetable garden by Ann Rosenthal and Steffi Domike (Pittsburgh, PA). Titled An American Roots Garden, it includes foods common to early America, including Native American crops and those brought by settlers and immigrants. These include corn, squash, and beans (commonly known as the “three sisters”), a variety of potatoes and tomatoes, beets, carrots, sunflowers, marigolds, and herbs. The garden is laid out in a quilt-type pattern that provides a structure to consider the evolution and story of five staple crops and how food cultures are lost or preserved. Ann and Steffi harvested carrots, beets, corn and potatoes the day of the opening. Their garden reached its peak in August both in terms of abundance and beauty. The artists spoke about reconnecting to the past in the use of a “kitchen garden” and stressed the importance of holding on to our individual cultural histories in relationship to passed down food traditions and family recipes. The artists also created a kid’s placemat to hand out at the opening with a word puzzle and kitchen garden quilt for coloring.

We then moved the tour out to a large former crop field on the site to speak with artist Susan Leibovitz Steiman. Her garden Urban Defense was a tour de force collaborative project. Susan lives in the S.F. Bay Area, so her project involved local participation from friends, volunteers and student assistants Susan hired from the Philadelphia University Sustainable Design Program, led by Fern Gookin. Susan spoke about creating the garden with techniques of permaculture, a planting method that mimics nature’s principle of combining diverse compatible plantings that conserve labor, water and soil, to produce abundant healthy food. The forty-ft. square installation has at its heart a five-sided permaculture urban forest orchard, contained within a raised bed structure built using locally culled household salvage. The title Urban Defense and the form of the installation refer to Philadelphia’s myriad columned public buildings, and to the political strength of the U.S. Defense Department’s Pentagon. Ecologically, Urban Defense honors another American symbol, the apple—its five seed chambers of diverse seeds can create an entire sustainable food forest. Urban Defense includes more than a dozen varieties of trees, perennial bushes and annuals whose fruits have been shared and donated to local food banks.

The last stop on the far side of the same field was to Simon Draper’s Habitat for Artists Collective. The work titled Drawn to / Drawn from the Garden consists of a mini art studio, potting shed, and seven vegetable/flower gardens. The collective of artists in this project included Todd Sargood, Odin Cathcart, Jeff Bailey and Cathy Lebowitz. Draper spoke about his childhood experience of gardening with his father and how that joint activity created a neutral space for otherwise difficult communication. He also related how his interest in shed-making stems from that same period of time, where he saw how the backyard shed could become a place for contemplation, tinkering and creative projects. The HFA Collective has to this date constructed 20 different habitats (sheds) in various sites around the Hudson Valley, NYC and Philadelphia. This project aims to encourage backyard food growing, recycling of materials and the re-purposing of abandoned sites for gardening. Local artists and school groups were invited to collaborate and to adopt two of the garden plots, which provided opportunities for engagement, the shed siding consists of art panels by school children.

Down to Earth: Artists Create Edible Landscapes is on view in Philadelphia through November 28th. Read a review of the exhibition in the Philadelphia Inquirer by art critic Edith Newhall here.

In order to bring the creativity and huge amount of labor involved in making Down to Earth available to a New York audience, a documentation form of the exhibition opened at ecoartspace in NYC on October 3rd. The same artists from the Philadelphia show are exhibiting photographs, prints and an herbal apothecary by Joan Bankemper. Also included are several additional artists’ projects, a video by Eva Bakkeslett, Alchemy: The Poetics of Bread; a video by Jacinto Astiazaran & Fritz Haeg, The Story of Manahatta and the Lenape Edible Estate Manhattan; a film by Lenore Malen & The New Society for Universal Harmony, I Am The Animal That I Am; Eve Mosher’s mini green roof modules, Seeding the City; Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga’s, Hello Weather! an outdoor data collecting weather station; Andrea Reynosa & Kevin Vertrees, Sky Dog Projects, time lapse videos of corn and hops on their farm with a hops pillow by Donna Sharrett, and Christy Rupp’s food packaging, New Labels for Genetically Engineered Food.

The exhibition will remain on view at the ecoartspace NYC office through November 21st at 53 Mercer Street in Soho, NY. Hours are Saturdays 12 – 6pm and by appointment.

On Sunday October 4th, performance artist Chere Krakovsky presented her work, Mothers and Daughters at Solar One in the Habitat for Artists shed that has been situated there since July 10th when it left ecoartspace on Mercer Street.

Chere’s performance explored how one generation offers its lessons to the next, both learned and unspoken. In the first part of the performance she honored her Eastern European grandmother by washing her laundry by hand the same way her grandmother did a century ago. She then hung it out to dry on a clothes line connected to the Habitat/shed with the East River as background. Following this Chere invited her 86 year old mother, Dorothy Krakovsky to join her in the shed to teach Chere to sew by hand, which she in turn was taught to do by Chere’s grandmother. In this piece the everyday and the creative co-exist. The shed served as the home location for the everyday tasks of doing laundry and sewing. Visitors were invited to participate in the sewing lesson or share in conversation about what has been offered/handed down to them from their mothers. The artwork of mother, daughter and grandmother filled the interior of the habitat during the performance. Chere’s performance work revolves around her ever-changing notions of home, it’s location and meaning.

On October 24th at ecoartspace NYC in conjunction with’s International Day of Climate Action, we will screen three films – by Eva Bakkeslett, Jacinto Astiazaran & Fritz Haeg, and Lenore Malen & The New Society for Universal Harmony.

Eva Bakkeslett’s “Alchemy: The Poetry of Bread” – A poetic evocation on the alchemy of bread brings the act of baking the most basic of staples, into a high art form.

Jacinto Astiazaran & Fritz Haeg, “The Story of Mannahatta and the Lenape Edible Estate: Manhattan” as told by Eric Sanderson of the Mannahatta Project. – Ever wondered what New York looked like before it was a city? Welcome to Mannahatta, 1609. Now, after nearly a decade of research, the Mannahatta Project at the Wildlife Conservation Society has un-covered the original ecology of Manhattan.

Lenore Malen & The New Society for Universal Harmony‘s “I Am The Animal That I Am” – Narrates the grave threat to the bee population including “colony collapse disorder” from the perspective of 6 Hudson Valley Beekeepers.

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