Artworks

Nature and Peace at Geumgang Nature Art Biennale by guest blogger Anke Mellin

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale was first held in 2004 and again in 2006 and 2008. This year it is titled “Nature and Peace.” Yatoo was founded almost 30 years ago in Gongju, in the Chungnam Province, 150 km south-west of Seoul. Yatoo, is the name of the Korean Nature Artists Association which organizes the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale and means “Thrown into the field”. The Korean artists use the term “thrown into field,” because, as Koreans, they feel the responsibility for nature is theirs. Why? Korea is a unique country in many ways. As a technically advanced society, it lives collectively in respect for ancient culture and nature. It requires individuals to responsibly share their experiences abroad, to learn from other cultures how to honor nature because many countries have this problem now. This has resulted in Korea being one of the largest Land Art or Nature Art centers in the world.

Within the exhibition’s title, and the rhetoric of the artworks is a reflection of how people could behave so as not to discourage or disrupt other species, the way they have discouraged swallows. How can one live in harmony with the whole of nature? Art gives us advice in finding answers to this sticky question. Trees, water, light, sound and even wind become a part of the artist‘s installations. They will be standing on site for some time and the site will change its form and structure with help form nature itself. The whole process can be observed in the park and at the Geumgang riverbank throughout the year.

The combined rich and diverse histories of this year’s participants guarantees a high level of quality work. We have 15 artists from 13 different countries: Ghana, Cameroon, India, Poland, USA, Germany, Peru, Philippines, Netherlands, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hungary, Bulgaria and Japan, and 12 artists from the host country, South Korea. The character of each creator’s piece is shaped by the unique culture, history and geography of his or her country of origin. Each piece is also marked by the artist’s specific relationship to nature. It is not surprising that the installations differ from each other to such an extent.

Nereus Patrick Cheo, Cameroon (above), was inspired by debris washed up onto the beach by the Atlantic to create “The Watch Tower Kiosk.” He used found plastic water, beer and soft-drink bottles to make an open structure which talks about a worldwide problem: A great majority of the world’s population consume water and drinks from these bottles but at least half of these bottles are never recycled. His project entailed the construction of a Kiosk-like shape 5m high and 3 x 4m wide. The kiosk is a dome shaped sculpture beautifully created from used bottles woven together with wire on a base of bamboo, wood and nails. Utilising the bottles as an artistic statement, he has given them a new life.The work offers an opportunity for attention, care and open vistas for reflection on how we interact with our environment.

For Roger Tibon, Philippines (above), the watchwords “nature and peace” are a metaphors for a journey uniquely associated with the boat. This is not surprising considering that the Philippines are comprised of more than seven thousand islands. Many of them are inhabited by people who have never left them, and often travel by boat. The boats are more than just a way of movement and communication for them. The boat, with three figures on it, has been installed hanging under one of the cities bridges enabling many people travel over this traveling symbol. Of course the real contemplation begins when we reach a beautiful riverbank and silently, listening to sound of the water and gaze at the sculpture from a distance.

New Zealand artist, Donald Buglass’ Cell (above), relies on the beauty of physics to hold itself up. Cut sections of tree trunk support each other and demonstrate a link between the constructive tendencies of humans and the environment. “Cell” represents the beauty and balance of nature. It is the cells of plants, nucleus of an atom or, perhaps, the rising sun. At the same time it portrays a fundamental shape for shelter (in this case, one we are excluded from) and the peace and security that this might otherwise offer us. His work also has underlying references to the ancient graves at Yeonmisan.

Karen Macher Nesta (above), Peru, is an artist who believes in specific interaction between mother earth and Her inhabitants. In the ancient beliefs of her country, the land must be respected. Consequently people offer gifts to nature: fruit, animal blood, coca leaves etc., asking Her to be more fertile and calm. Earthquakes are also in her nature, and if it comes to this kind of disaster it means that She is angry. The artist used rabbits as a symbol of fertility because of their fast reproduction capacity. The rabbit figures were made from clay, and were designed to last for a short period of time in order to return to the earth where they came from (some cement has been added to extend this period). Over thirty larger-than-life rabbits are located around main path in the Ecological Park. The rabbits will eventually disappear and be absorbed into the forest floor.

The work of Pawel Chlebek Odebek, Poland, refers to central values such as family, love and care. In “The New Generation” (above) the artist points out the mystery of new life and implies its dependence on our care. The art-work is a pine sapling planted in soil between the two large opposing torsos, male and female. Eventually the project will result in the interaction between the carved form and nature’s power (as the growing tree trunk expands). Time is co-creator of this piece.

For these artists, nature and peace are much more than just words.

Facts:

Organizer – Korean Nature Artist Association Yatoo (established 1981)

The year of the first Nature Art Biennale – 2004

Term of exhibition – three months, from 16th September until 15th November 2010

2010 Participants:

Korean: Chunchung Kang, Heejoon Kang, Hyunhie Ko, Soonim Kim, Yongik Kim, Haesim Kim, Bongi Park, Seunghoon Byun, Seunggu Ryu, Eungwoo Ri, Chungyeon Cho, Kang Hur

International: Chintan Upadhyay (India), Donald Buglass (New Zealand), Eizo Sakata (Japan/France), Ichi Ikeda (Japan), Karen Macher Nesta (Peru), Karin van der Molen (Netherlands), Nereus Patrick Cheo (Cameroon), Patrick Tagoe-Turkson (Ghana), Pawel Chlebek Odebek (Poland), Roger Tibon (Philippines), Ryszard Litwiniuk (Canada/Poland), Suzy Sureck (USA), Toni Schaller (Germany), Sandor Vass (Hungary)

The full article will be published in the upcoming second issue of WEAD magazine online soon HERE.

TPS REPORTS: PERFORMANCE DOCUMENTS

About the Exhibition:

TPS Reports: Performance Documents is an exhibition of the “stuff” that results from performances: detritus, photographs, drawings, sculptures, videos, etc.  We are not interested in the documentation of the performance itself, just the results. We are mostly looking for the items that were made as the primary goal of the performance.

About The Theme:

How does this stuff live on after the performance? Is it possible or necessary to understand the performance based on what is created through it?

Eligibility:

Open to all artists worldwide.  Work is limited in size to no more than 1x1x1 meter.

How to Submit Your Work:

Please submit the following items in one email to tpsreports@spacecampgallery.com

  • Up to 5 artworks
    • You may include up to 3 views of detailed or 3D work)
    • JPG or PDF for non-moving work
    • MP4, WMA, or Quicktime for video or other time based work
  • Artist Statement about the work
  • Artist Biography, 3rd person
  • Artist Resume or CV
  • Image List including size, media, date, and sale price (if for sale)
  • List of special instructions/requirements for installation
    • Please include your name in each file title (i.e. Jane Doe, Resume.doc)
    • Messages are limited to 25MB
    • Links are acceptable for large video files
    • All documents must be in either Word or PDF format.
    • Any accepted work may be used in promotional materials such as show cards or on the website.

      Review and Selection:

      Work will be reviewed by the curator. Artists will be contacted by November 15, 2010 and informed what works are selected for the exhibition.  Work will be due to the gallery by January 15, 2011.

      Costs:

      There is no submission fee to enter or participate, but artists are responsible for shipping both directions. Artists will receive 70% of the sale price for anything sold during the show.

      Dates to Remember:

      • Submissions due: October 5, 2010
      • Artists informed of artwork selected for exhibition by: November 15, 2010
      • Work received by gallery: January 15, 2011
      • Exhibition: February 2011
      • Opening Reception: First Friday February 4, 2011
      • Artwork returned: End of February

      About the Location:

      SpaceCamp MicroGallery is a small contemporary arts gallery located in the Murphy Arts Building in Indianapolis, Indiana. SpaceCamp is dedicated to bringing small (size wise) but large (idea wise) national and international art to Indianapolis. The co-gallerists are Flounder Lee, Paul Miller, and Kurt Nettleton. http://www.spacecampgallery.com 

      The Murphy is a collection of galleries, studios, and restaurants. It is also the temporary home of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. The Murphy and SpaceCamp are located in the Fountain Square Arts District near Downtown Indianapolis. 

      About the Curator:

      Flounder Lee is an artist/curator/educator living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has curated several recent shows such as Double Vision: A Dual Channel Video Festival and One Performative Night. He is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. He received his BFA from the University of Florida and his MFA from California State University Long Beach.

      AN INTERNATIONAL SUMMER “ECO-FESTIVAL” AT EXIT ART: SEA presents ECOAESTHETIC and CONSUME



      Edward Burtynsky, Oil Fields #13, Taft, California, USA, 2002

      Sze Tsung Leong, Beizhuanzi II, Siming District, Xiamen, 2004

      ECOAESTHETIC and CONSUME

      June 18 – August 28, 2010
      Opening Friday, June 18, 7-10pm

      NEW YORK – ECOAESTHETIC is the first exhibition of SEA to be mounted in Exit Art’s main gallery. In keeping with SEA’s mission to present artworks that address socio-environmental concerns – and to unite artists, scholars, scientists and the public in discussion on these issues – ECOAESTHETIC, through the work of nine international photographers, approaches the mystery of beauty in the natural and built environment, which can be destructive or utopian.

      ECOAESTHETIC will focus on photography of land where the tragedy of the image becomes the aesthetic of the environment, and not just the beauty of the landscape. The artists in this exhibition do not have a passive engagement with the environment; rather, they seek out beautiful and tragic images to emphasize the human impact on fragile ecosystems, to elucidate our relationship to nature, and to visualize the violence of natural disasters.

      In conjunction with ECOAESTHETIC, Exit Art will also create a collective “artists terrarium” in its two ground floor windows facing 36th Street and 10th Avenue. For this project, artists have been invited to bring a plant and a photo of themselves with the plant to Exit Art, in order to contribute to a communal garden that gives a presence to the local environmental movement.

      ECOAESTHETIC curated by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo with Herb Tam and Lauren Rosati.

      Susannah Sayler, Cordillera Blanca, Peru, 2008

      David Maisel, American Mine (Nevada 1), 2007

      The artists in ECOAESTHETIC are: Edward Burtynsky (Canada); Mitch Epstein (USA); Anthony Hamboussi (USA); Chris Jordan (USA); Christopher LaMarca (USA); Sze Tsung Leong (USA); David Maisel (USA); Susannah Sayler/The Canary Project (USA) and Jo Syz (UK).

      * * *

      Consume, a project of SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), is a multimedia group exhibition and event series that investigates the world’s systems of food production, distribution, consumption and waste. Consumewill be exhibited concurrently with ECOAESTHETIC, establishing a summer “eco-festival” on two floors of exhibition space.

      With fuel prices fluctuating and climate change causing monumental shifts in weather patterns, we have been forced to rethink our methods of food production and distribution. Natural disasters have wiped out entire crop cycles (the rice supply in Burma and the wheat harvest in Australia) and experts are saying that a global food shortage is imminent. The prices for wheat, corn, rice and other grains have steadily increased since 2005, causing food riots and hoarding from Morocco to Yemen to Hong Kong. The New York Times recently reported an estimate that Americans waste 27% of the food available for consumption. What are some possible solutions to these mammoth problems?

      Robin Lasser, Dining in the Dump, 2003

      As more people change their habits, and as the government ratifies new regulations, we can make significant progress in the fight for food. The American public has shown awareness that the industrial-food system is deeply flawed. Expanded recycling and composting programs – as well as the growing local, organic and free-range movements – are indicative of a profound shift in the way we think about food. Consume will also include a series of public talks, screenings and workshops that confront and take up diverse food-related issues.

      Jon Feinstein, Fast Food: 8 Grams, 2008

      Uli Westphal, image of a lemon from the Mutatoes series, 2006-2010

      Consume includes projects by Prayas Abhinav (India); Elizabeth Demaray (USA); Jon Feinstein (USA); Jordan Geiger / Ga-Ga and Virginia San Fratello / Rael-San Fratello Architects (USA); Sara Heitlinger and Franc Purg (UK/Slovenia); Manny Howard (USA); Miwa Koizumi (USA); Tamara Kostianovsky (USA); Robin Lasser (USA); Lenore Malen (USA); Mark Lawrence Stafford (USA); Laurie Sumiye (USA); Andreas Templin (Germany); and Uli Westphal (Germany).

      Consume curated by Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo with Herb Tam and Lauren Rosati.

      EVENTS
      Wednesday, June 23 / 7-9pm

      Raw Food Demonstration and Tasting: $20
      Seema Shah – chef, health coach and chocolatier – will demonstrate how to prepare five local, seasonal and healthy raw food dishes for summer. She will also talk about her experiences with community supported agriculture and show us how to make more environmentally informed decisions about what we eat.
      On the menu: Fresh Gazpacho, Colorful Kale Salad, Almond Butter Nori Wraps, Avocado Orange Salsa and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Cash bar. To learn more about Shah, visit www.simplyseema.com.

      Thursday, July 22, 2010 / 7-9pm
      Media That Matters presents GOOD FOOD, a collection of short films and animations about food and sustainability. Q and A to follow with filmmakers and representatives of Media That Matters. $5 suggested donation. Cash bar.

      Thursday, July 29, 2010 / 7-9pm
      Community Food Access with presentations by Just Food, Center for Urban Pedagogy and Green My Bodega, featuring information on CSAs, food justice, and increasing access to healthy food in underserved areas. $5 suggested donation. Cash bar.

      Date TBA
      SEA Poetry Series, No. 4
      Organized by EJ McAdams of The Nature Conservancy. $5 suggested donation. Cash bar.

      SEA (Social-Environmental Aesthetics)
      SEA is a unique endeavor that presents a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that address social and environmental concerns. SEA will assemble artists, activists, scientists and scholars to address environmental issues through presentations of visual art, performances, panels and lecture series that will communicate international activities concerning environmental and social activism. SEA will occupy a permanent space in Exit Underground, a 3000 square-foot, multi-media performance, film and exhibition venue underneath Exit Art’s main gallery space. The SEA archive will be a permanent archive of information, images and videos that will be a continuous source for upcoming exhibitions and projects. Central to SEA’s mission is to provide a vehicle through which the public can be made aware of socially- and environmentally-engaged work, and to provide a forum for collaboration between artists, scientists, activists, scholars and the public. SE A functions as an initiative where individuals can join together in dialogue about issues that affect our daily lives.

      * * *

      Announcing a solo exhibition by performance artist Rafael Sanchez,
      winner of the 2008 Ida Applebroog Award

      Rafael Sanchez:
      The Limit as the Body Approaches Zero
      June 18 – August 28, 2010

      Opening Friday, June 18 / 7-10pm

      PERFORMANCES ON SATURDAYS IN JUNE AND JULY. See full schedule below.

      Rafael Sanchez, winner of the 2008 Ida Applebroog Award at Exit Art, will present a series of new performance pieces and documentation from the past ten years of his work in Exit Art’s ground floor project space. Sanchez’s performances often bridge the spectacle of street life with the meditative interiority of private rituals. During this exhibition, the artist will stage performances every Saturday that provoke questions about issues as diverse as masculinity, sexuality, gentrification, and bodily limits.

      In deceivingly simple gestures and epic endurance feats, Sanchez uses his body to carry ideas about the performative conditions of daily life in the city and how it is inscribed with desire, pain, musical rhythms, absurdity and poetry. Sanchez demands that viewers make a “psycho-educational commitment to enhancing his or her own perception of reality.”

      Performances are scheduled for the exhibition opening, on Friday, June 18, on Friday, July 9 and on Saturdays, June 19, July 10, 17, 24, and 31. All performances will be assisted by Jonathan Hyppolite. See the full schedule below for details.

      PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
      Friday, June 18

      URBAN RENEWAL
      This piece questions the role of gentrification in impoverished urban environments. Does the process of urban renewal bury a neighborhood’s people along with its past?

      OTIS LOTUS (Soundscape One)
      Otis Redding’s voice will fill a space over a one-hour period. As the sound unfolds, the audience is asked to question the boundaries between harmony disharmony, order and chaos.

      SAG THEM DRAWS FOR WHOSE APPLAUSE
      A performance designed to question a certain phenomenon of street fashion.

      Saturday, June 19 / 1-7pm
      NTU THE STAGE (Part Two)
      A celebration and invocation ceremony. Music by Kris Flowers of Flowers in the Attic and DJ Porkchop of SSPS and Excepter. Food provided by Verettables catering.

      Friday, July 9 / 12pm – Saturday, July 10 / 12pm
      SWIMMING IN THE CREEK
      This performance uses interviews with over a dozen fathers and husbands to question the notion of masculinity as it changes with age. The artist will recreate the gestation stage of human development as portions of the interviews play.

      Saturday, July 10 / 12-6pm
      DANIEL GIVENS DAY
      The artist pays homage to one of his creative mentors as Daniel Givens (poet, DJ, photographer and producer) restructures the performance space with collages, videos, and music.

      Saturday, July 17 / 12-4pm
      DILL PICKLE
      In an allegory for sexual fantasy and voyeurism, the artist will climb a ladder and periodically slice cucumbers into a big tub placed under the ladder. During this process, music and soundscapes from pornographic films will play.

      MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME
      The artist will recreate 21 years of orgasms and the visual, auditory, and sensual stimuli that made these moments possible.

      ROCK ME
      A performance addressing the sexuality of the body as separate from sensation.

      Saturday, July 24 / 12-6pm
      SPEAK BOLDLY
      A performance to honor the life of Julius Eastman, a minimalist African-American composer, pianist, vocalist and dancer.

      WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN
      A visualization of this physical and social law.

      KANDINSKY’S PAINTED ON BOTH SIDES
      Comparing process versus product, the artist becomes the canvas.

      BEING AND NOTHINGNESS / MILK BATH
      Using literature from the Négritude movement and Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and Black Orpheus, the artist questions the subject and objectivity of blackness.

      Saturday, July 31 / 12-6pm
      CAN’T KEEP RUNNING AWAY
      A performance piece about the defense mechanism of “avoidance coping.”

      BAD BRAINS RE-ENACTMENT
      Using performance footage of the Washington D.C. hardcore punk group Bad Brains, the artist mimics lead singer H.R.’s movements to bring immediate presence to vicarious memory.

      HABIBI ABID
      The artist will sit in a plexi-glass box, from which Sudanese wedding music will play. Sand will fill the box as the music plays and becomes louder. Once the sand reaches his neck, honey and ants will be poured over his head. While the ants wander through the honey, the music will become less audible and the sound of shifting sand will replace the music of celebration.

      PERFORMANCE FOR THOSE LOVED
      The artist will choose four people from various spheres of his life and create a performance as a gift to them.

      DIAMOND SEA (Part Two)
      A performance about Sonic Youth’s Diamond Sea.

      ABOUT THE ARTIST
      Rafael Sanchez (b. Newark, New Jersey, 1978) is a performance artist who often takes his work to the streets and other unconventional spaces. In his performances, Sanchez frequently subjects his body to extreme stress and pain to materialize ideas of memory, spirituality and endurance. In an early work titled Back to Africa(2000), Sanchez wandered around New Jersey in white face, carrying a suitcase and waiting for a bus that never arrived. In a more recent work, Calienté/Frio (2007) the artist traced the migration process of two women from Cuba to America during the 1960s. The artist, dressed in a light colored suit and hat and carrying a packed suitcase, submerged himself in a tub of water that alternated between near boiling and below freezing as interviews with the two Cuban women played in the background.

      ABOUT THE IDA APPLEBROOG AWARD
      The Ida Applebroog Award at Exit Art was established by Richard Massey, art collector and Exit Art board member, and Ida Applebroog, artist and Exit Art board member, to nurture outstanding artists at critical points in their careers. This biennial award was named after Ida Applebroog to convey both the spirit of her work and Exit Art’s mission, and to honor her for her accomplishments. For more than 25 years, Exit Art’s mission has been to support under recognized artists that consistently challenge cultural and artistic conventions. By establishing this award at Exit Art, Ida Applebroog wished to further that mission by providing a substantial monetary award to support such artists. The award includes a $10,000 unrestricted grant and a solo exhibition at Exit Art.

      ABOUT EXIT ART
      Exit Art is an independent vision of contemporary culture. We are prepared to react immediately to important issues that affect our lives. We do experimental, historical and unique presentations of aesthetic, social, political and environmental issues. We absorb cultural differences that become prototype exhibitions. We are a center for multiple disciplines. Exit Art is a 25 year old cultural center in New York City founded by Directors Jeanette Ingberman and artist Papo Colo, that has grown from a pioneering alternative art space, into a model artistic center for the 21st century committed to supporting artists whose quality of work reflects the transformations of our culture. Exit Art is internationally recognized for its unmatched spirit of inventiveness and consistent ability to anticipate the newest trends in the culture. With a substantial reputation for curatorial innovation and depth of programming in diverse media, Exit Art is always changing.

      EXHIBITION SUPPORT
      General exhibition support for all Summer 2010 exhibitions provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Bloomberg LP; Jerome Foundation; Lambent Foundation; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Exit Art’s Board of Directors and our members.

      GENERAL INFORMATION
      Exit Art is located at 475 Tenth Avenue, corner of 36th Street. Hours: Tues. – Thurs., 10am – 6pm; Fri., 10am – 8pm; and Sat., noon – 8pm. Closed Sun. and Mon. There is a suggested donation of $5. For more information please call 212-966-7745 or visit www.exitart.org.

      # # #


      What Matters Most? ecoartspace benefit art exhibition

      ecoartspace invites you to our first New York City benefit exhibition titled What Matters Most? hosted by Exit Art from April 15 – 28th, 2010.

      Over 225 participating artists have created an original 8 x 10″ artwork related to the NY Times Dot Earth blog question of What Matters Most? or they have donated an existing work. For more information and a complete list of artists please read our blog:

      http://ecoartspacewhatmattersmost2010.blogspot.com/

      What Matters Most? began with responses to this question posted Monday, February 15th on Andrew Revkin’s NY Times Dot Earth blog by leading environmental experts, writers and readers – and is still active on the archive:

      http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/what-matters-most/

      Artworks will go on sale (first come first serve) beginning on noon at April 15th and ending on April 28th at 9pm at Exit Art Underground Space, 475 10th Ave at 36th St, NYC.

      Music performances of Whale Music by David RothenbergNight Science by Ben Neill

      Tickets are $135 in advance, $150 at the door for admission and includes a work of art. Admission Only tickets are $35 each.

      If you can not attend but would like to support ecoartspace with a donation please go to this link for SEE, our fiscal sponsor:

      https://p7.secure.hostingprod.com/@www.saveourplanet.org/ssl/Donate.html

      Demo Eco MO

      (Demonstrations of Ecological Modes of Operation for Art)

      by Linda Weintraub

      as published in the Fall 2009 issue of the CSPA Quarterly

      My goal as a curator was the earnest pursuit of environmental responsibility. I invited ten artists to boldly break the conventions of art display and production that arose during the first flush of industrial productivity.  We pledged to scrutinize the innumerable aspects of creating and exhibiting artworks that are still ignored by many art professionals.  We vowed not to take abundance for granted, nor tolerate waste, nor disregard the contaminating effects of our    efforts.  The artists fulfilled the mandate imbedded in the title of the exhibition: “Demo Eco M.O.” (Demonstrations of Ecological Modes of Operation).  The exhibition opened on July 18, 2008, at NURTUREart, a non-profit art gallery in Brooklyn.

      Instead of protesting against the environmental ills that are still rampant in the art profession, we attempted to set examples of responsible behavior by conserving resources, minimizing waste and energy use, and avoiding harmful by-products.  This mission determined every component of the exhibition, including the opening night refreshments.  Guests ‘ate local’ by sipping filtered rainwater collected from the gallery roof and nibbling on sprouts grown on site.  

      Such unconventional materials, tools, and processes became the norm for this exhibition.  Each artist assumed the role of art eco-crusader.  Their fervor for environmental reform entailed minimizing art’s footprint upon the          environment while maximizing art’s mark upon the culture.  Despite this challenging task, each managed to preserve humor, commitment to community, and generous offerings of good will.  Together their contributions could constitute a hand-book of eco-alternatives for artists, gallerists, art supply manufacturers, and other art professionals. 

      Writing this essay relieves the one regret that lingers, regarding this project. The most ground-breaking innovations were not visible to the visitors.  They occurred behind-the-scenes during the weeks preceding the opening.  That is when the artists and I discussed ways to emulate the interdependencies, interconnectedness, and efficiencies that characterize vital ecosystems.  Our spirited exchanges resulted in the artists reformulating their art practices.  Instead of behaving as independent creators, they performed services for each other.  As a result, all the pieces in the       exhibition were linked, comprising a network of connections. Consider the following

      • Mediums were traded among the artists. One artist’s material excess fulfilled another artist’s needs.
      • Tools were fabricated and shared.  One artist’s ingenuity provided another artist’s means.
      • Exchanging these tools and mediums between the artists’ studios, and delivering artworks to the gallery were   conducted in the basket of a bicycle driven by one of the artists.
      • General maintenance regimes were designed into some participants’ contributions. 
      • Illumination of each artwork was provided by one artists’ light sculpture. 

      Meanwhile, the network of interactions expanded to  include members of the gallery staff.  They participated in the material exchanges and scrupulously applied  sustainable criteria to the production of the exhibition catalogue,   invitation, and wall labels.  Even members of the board were enlisted to supply components of works of art.  As the weeks progressed, opportunities multiplied to be a recipient and, simultaneously, to serve as a contributor.  In all these ways the rigid borders that isolate artists in their studios and separate professional roles dissolved.  It was   replaced with a dynamic multi channeled arena of participation that avoided redundancies, reduced consumption, eliminated waste, and conserved energy..

      The contributions of the individual artists demonstrate the environmental advantages of such cooperative behaviors: 

      Carol Taylor-Kearney applied her creative and aesthetic ingenuity to fabricate art-making tools.  By lending them to other artists in the exhibition she helped reduce unnecessary expenditures of material and energy associated with manufacturing, packaging, and transporting art tools. 

      Christina Massey gathered unsold and rejected works of art donated by the other artists and utilized them as her   medium.  She not only avoided purchasing new art materials, she helped other artists reduce the material and energy costs associated with storing and preserving art. 

      John Day offered artists and gallery visitors alternatives to purchasing newly manufactured art mediums by focusing on the formal qualities of society’s discards.  The waste stream became a site of enticing aesthetic opportunities. 

      Tamar Hirschl methodically inventoried neglected resources and documented the new contexts and uses for these items that she initiated in her artwork.  Visitors were invited to help themselves to these items, providing a record of their      intentions within the gallery, and then sending the artist reports about how the material was utilized.  In this manner she not only exemplified responsible engagement with material, she provided an opportunity for the visitors to join her. 

      Joyce Yamada and Joanne Ungar’s sprawling installation anticipates the particular effect the collapse of eco-system functions will have upon art.  The consequence of ignoring their warning is not a pretty sight. Yamada and Ungar       assembled an array of decrepit artifacts from our misbegotten culture to convey the specific scarcities, infirmities, and  dilapidations that will befall artworks and artists if we don’t shed our complacency, stifle our indulgence, and temper our greed.  Viewers are jolted by an uncompromising accumulation of grisly details – giant rats gnawing hungrily on stained and torn plastic wrappings meant to protect rolled canvas, pigeons trapped in the toxic fluid leaking out of a sculpture, a protective shelter for art hastily constructed out of branches and shreds of plastic, tools crudely configured from smashed plastic bottles and metal debris, a food processing rack where a few pathetic vegetables are drying and some radishes are making a valiant attempt to complete their life cycles in plastic bottles. Joseph Cornell’s “Hotel Eden” a masterwork that addresses a longing for a lost paradise, appears aged and crackled in this work.  The artists offer a a dire warning when they state, “The dream of Eden is a dangerous fallacy. Nature is neither benign nor stable. We ignore its true functioning at our peril.”

      Gunter Puller demonstrated the full cycle of disintegration and creation by dismantling multiple outdated Yellow Books and then exposing them to the sun and rain.  As the pages decomposed, they transformed into a growing medium for seeds that travelled in the urban air and settled there by chance.  

      Lynn Richardson reduced the electricity used in galleries by creating a sculpture that consists of light fixtures and surveillance technology.  The light from her sculpture was designed to illuminate the other works in the exhibition, but only when they are being viewed.  Thus, electricity was drawn only when it was needed.

      Scrapworm performed on-site narratives that revealed the recent and historic manipulation of Williamsburg ecosystems.  The performance aspect of her contribution avoided the ecological costs of material fabrication, display, transport, and storage of art, while it magnified the ecological history of the ecosystem within which Nurture Art is located. 

      Anne Katrin Spiess provided a low carbon dioxide emissions alternative to motorized transportation of mediums, tools, and art works.  She performed these art pick-ups and deliveries on her bicycle wearing an official uniform to draw       attention to her performance.  Photographs and a video documented her contribution. 

      Patricia Tinajero established a functional reintegration between the gallery and its ecosystem by collecting the rainwater that falls upon the gallery’s roof.  This free resource supplied gallery visitors with water to drink and it was directed to sprouts that were served as refreshments throughout the exhibition.  She thereby severed the gallery’s   dependence on municipalities to provide water for business and life-supporting activities.  Furthermore, she demonstrated that even     galleries are capable of sustainability by generating their own nourishment and beverages. 

      The spirited conviviality that developed among the participating artists originated in pragmatic environmental concerns.   It culminated on the roof of Scrapworm’s Brooklyn studio on the night before the opening.  As the sun set over Manhattan, the artists and I gathered to revamp the wasteful conventions of art catalog production.  We engaged in a communal book-binding party by assembling a great heap of binding materials gathered from our respective waste streams and using them to playfully assemble the pages that had been printed as sustainabily as we could afford.  The covers were supplied by Patricia Tinajero who made the richely textured papers by using rainwater run-off from the Nurture Art gallery roof, and scraps from the gallery’s waste bins.  Between sips of wine and bites of pizza, we braided, sewed, theaded, and           embellished several hundred catalogs. Each was unique, a testimony to a reassuring truth – respecting environmental    constraints can liberate the imagination.

      The most significant aspect of “Eco Demo M.O.” was to expand the application of environmental considerations far beyond artists’ choices of medium.  The  artists in this exhibition demonstrated that their footprint can also be reduced during exhibiting, transporting, storing, and maintaining art.  Artistic collaboration emerged as the core to achieving ecological ethics.  It enables artists to activate roles within systems of exchange by sharing resources and providing support services to each other. In these ways the artists contribute to contemporary culture in a manner that far exceeds the limits of their profession. They demonstrate principles of sustainability for all human behaviors. Such art asserts that artists’ responsibility to the environment begins with a thorough review of its own professional practices.  Hopefully, it exists without an ending.  Such art can ripple through society as a model of sustainable behavior.   

      Submitted by Linda Weintraub, guest curator gallery@nurtureart.org www.nurtureart.org

      APInews: Public Conversation: Public Art & Sustainability

      Artists will lead a conversation about public art and sustainability during “Waterpod: Autonomy and Ecology,” an exhibition at New York’s Exit Art this winter. The show is a survey of a five-month voyage around the boroughs of New York by Waterpod, a floating, sculptural structure and community-building space designed as a futuristic habitat and an experimental platform for assessing the design and efficacy of living systems. It visited the five boroughs and Governors Island from June to October 2009. The discussion, February 4, 2010, includes Jennifer McGregor of Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx; public artist Mary Miss; Mierle Laderman Ukeles, a “maintenance artist” known for her service-oriented artworks; Mary T. Mattingly, Waterpod founder; and members of her team. The exhibition, January 9–February 6, 2010, is part of Exit Art’s SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics) program. Posted by Linda Frye Burnham

      via APInews: Public Conversation: Public Art & Sustainability.

      Inhabitat Interview – Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts #COP15

      Moe Beitiks of Inhabitat (amongst other things) conducted an email interview with CSPA Executive Director, Ian Garrett (Me).  You can see the whole things here:

      INTERVIEW: Ian Garrett Reports on COP15 and the Arts | Inhabitat.

      Some Excerpts:

      INHABITAT: What were your cultural expectations for Copenhagen?

      GARRETT: At this point, I don’t know what my expectations are. I’m a big fan of the idea that if you get a lot of people together in one spot, talking about a thing, things can happen. The feeling I have from the news out of here and being in the streets is that there is going to be more civilian change out of this than there will be government change. My hope is that, with this many people of divergent origins, with the efforts being made from a cultural end, that it will reify something at the grassroots level. I can only hope that it makes it upwards, because that doesn’t seem like the case at the Bella Center.

      INHABITAT: What have been some standout experiences thus far? What artworks have struck a chord, and why?

      GARRETT: It’s hard to tell right now, there is so much more to see in this next week, but if I chose now my vote is in for wooloo.org’s efforts and partnerships. They’ve got Superflex’s sustainable burial contracts, the Yes Men’s Coca-Cola Pledge and New Life Copenhagen. Everything they are doing is very much in the spirit of unity and many people doing small things towards a bigger goal. I think that’s a message in and of itself. And since all three of the projects I mentioned rely on documentation and masses of people as the documenters I think that it’s got the potential to show the most real human aspects of the issues being discussed and the opportunities to work together.

      There is the common thread these days of “Changing light bulbs won’t save the world.” Which is true, but you know, ultimately if everyone change all light bulbs, sure it would do something about energy use. The point being that lots of people making small efforts aren’t to be scoffed at. It’s those sort of efforts, that when combined, lead to tipping points. We just aren’t there yet, and light bulbs have no future as a tipping point for the climate.

      New York’s Waterpod; artists of the floating world

      When Radical Nature opened, some critics bemoaned the fact that the exhibition was cloistered away from both the environment it discussed, and the audience that it deserved to reach. EXYZT’s wonderful Dalston Mill project was a clear answer to those critics

      In New York, The Waterpod – pictured above – has been slowly circumnavigating Manhattan. Conceived by artists Mary Mattingly and Mira Hunter as a literal platform for art, it brings New Yorkers to the water that surrounds their island. Like Dalston Mill it provides not only a space for performaces, artworks and discussions, but it creates a triangulation between food, community and environment. This live-aboard ark grows at least some of its own food and includes its own henhouse.

      For a taste of what it’s like to live and work aboard The Waterpod, try this NY Times article, which reveals that the floating pod was built from a variety of donated materials, including metal railings used in a Broadway production of Equus, and foliage print wallpaper recycled from the US soap As The World Turns.

      It’s currently moored at Pier 5, Brooklyn Bridge Park but will be moving on to Staten Island after the 17th. Have any readers visited The Waterpod? Did it work?

      Photo: thanks to BH301.A7

      Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

      No Really Now.

      Really. It’s a common blip for the wordpress theme to get all aggressively defaulty, but hopefully now it is fixed. We hope. We are hoping. ‘Cause the blips and farts are really exhausting.

      In the meantime, some really awesome stuff has been going on.

      In Seattle, artist Mandy Greer has just unveiled the installation Mater Matrix Mother and Medium at Camp Long in Seattle, Washington. It’s a lot of yarn. A lot of yarn in deep dark to bright lights blues, twisting and spazzing and coughing its way through a series of urban trees. Water. On its opening night it danced with performer Zoe Scofield.

      Trees are growing sideways in the exhibition Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969-2009, on display at the Barbican Art Gallery in London. They’re part of a massive retrospective of environmental artwork, ranging from Beuys to Smithson to mounds of grass. Trees also paraded through London to celebrate the opening of the exhibit.   William Shaw gives an excellent overview on the RSA Arts & Ecology blog: there’s a video of the exhibition from them below. Monumental, both in the comprehensive gathering of significant artworks, and in the diverse reactions from the critics.

      And sadly, the environmental art gallery Collectively Grasp will be closing its San Francisco doors in August. For those of you in the area: they’re having a closing party August 15th. Check it out.

      The Bay Area Air is alternately hot, stale, and rich and creamy like ice cream. Here’s RSA Arts and Ecology’s video of Radical Nature. Enjoy.

      Radical Nature | Barbican 2009 from RSA Arts & Ecology on Vimeo.

      Go to the Green Museum

      PostNatural history: organism of the month


      PostNatural Organism of the Month: American Chestnut Tree July 2009

      From a series of artworks from the Center for PostNatural History. The caption reads:

      This variety of American Chestnut Tree is engineered by a small team of researchers at the SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry program to be resistant to the chestnut blight that is responsible for reducing this American icon to a shrub. In selecting the genes to create a blight-resistant tree, researchers paid unusual attention to selecting genes from organisms that would not be seen by the public as controversial. For example, researchers chose a blight-resistant gene from wheat rather than a more commonly used toxin gene from frogs. This consideration of public perception as well as the environmental ecology is significant as this tree is among the first transgenic organisms to be designed with the intent to proliferate in the ‘wild’.

      Thanks to Groundswell blog.

      Go to RSA Arts & Ecology