Laderman

[UN]NATURAL LIMITS – Austrian Cultural Forum New York

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Jan 23 – April 1, 2013

Austrian Cultural Forum New York 11 East 52nd Street – New York, NY 10022

Artists: Desire Machine Collective, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mathias Kessler, Superflex, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Lois Weinberger
Curated by Dieter Buchhart & Arnaud Gerspacher
Curatorial Advisor: Mathias Kessler

The new international group exhibition [UN]NATURAL LIMITS, which opened on January 22nd, gathers together different artistic reactions to the alienating effects of the unfettered global exploitation of resources, and offers insight into the denial and myopia of current political responses to what increasingly appears to be a perpetual crisis.
It focuses on the environmental relays sent back in response to our human activities (or failures to act), while giving voice to various groups, thinkers, and artists who seek to interrupt narcissistic and destructive self-involvements in society.

The exhibition, which was commissioned by the Austrian Cultural Forum’s director Andreas Stadler and curated by the Viennese-New York team of Dieter Buchhart and Arnaud Gerspacher, maintains a deep ambiguity towards the modernist legacies of endless expansion and selective prosperity, as our social and political systems slowly begin to confront the limits of growth and sustainability. Each artist or collective poses a challenge to the perceived limits that condition our understanding of the world: on the one hand, the limited prospect for action, compassion, and change, while on the other, the limitless drive for resources and capital in all its forms. A reversal is necessary: it is compassion that should be limitless.

The show will include an installation by Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn titled Resistance-Subjecter (2011), which was first shown as part of his Crystal of Resistance at the Venice Biennial 2011. The bodies of the eight mannequins have seemingly been infested and corroded by 1 million year-old crystals. We are left to guess whether the crystals were produced in the body and stand for a material resisting cultural, economic, social, ecological, and aesthetical habits, or whether the body was produced by the crystals, now hosting them in order to resist the jaded times we live in.

Austrian artist Lois Weinberger’s Invasion (2005/2011) also plays with the limits of the organic and inorganic. The installation consists of a group of mushrooms that climb, protrude, and seem to grow from the Austrian Cultural Forum’s gallery walls. The work is a striking confluence of nature and artificiality, though the limits between the natural and unnatural are not as clear as they may first appear: the walls themselves were once organic growths in a forest and the artificial lighting is itself produced by natural sources of energy.

Equally engaged in uncovering the often-arbitrary limits between ecology and the economic functioning of the urban landscape, Mierle Laderman Ukeles has been committed to interrogating the social role of art within these processes. Her Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969! (1969) states that art should be concerned with maintaining life, its systems and environments. In her yearlong performance documented in Touch Sanitation Performance (1977-80), Ukeles shook hands with 8,500 sanitation employees, while sharing and documenting their stories, and thereby drawing attention to the ecological underbelly of New York City and its often socially stigmatized workers.

In Experience Climate Change As… (2009), the Danish collective Superflex advertises a series of hypnosis sessions offered in conjunction with international global climate change summits. The first one took place in 2009 at the UN Global Climate Summit in Copenhagen, and future events are planned through the year 2050. These hypnosis sessions allow participants to experience climate change as a specific animal, in a relatively playful gesture that nevertheless points to the serious relationship between the natural limits of global ecosystems and the seemingly limitless capacity of world powers to defer action due to realpolitik and economic reasons.

The rapacious capacity to excavate natural sites is documented by Mathias Kessler in his piece,Jarrells Cemetery, N37o53.96’ W81o34.71’. Eunice Mountain. West Virginia. (2012). The artist traveled to a commercial surface mining site in West Virginia to document the operation and the local stories mourning the lost landscape, the political situation, and the area’s history. Verbal accounts are audible to visitors outside the gallery, before they are confronted inside by a massive wallpaper depicting the carved out hillsides which appear overwhelmingly dry and diseased. In serious irony, the only remnant and survivor in an otherwise lifeless scene is a cemetery, now even more cut-off from the living.

Finally, [UN]NATURAL LIMITS includes a documentation of Periferry – An incomplete Balance Sheet (2013), a nomadic space for hybrid art practices mounted and maintained by Desire Machine Collective. Located on a ferry barge on the Brahmaputra River in India, this project provides a space for experimentation and new media approaches, public and community arts, which are relevant to immediate local concerns and aim at the empowerment of the community and reclaiming the public space, while at the same time connecting with the global.

For more information, visit acfny.org

Reposted from eflux newsletter

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Remediate/Re-vision exhibition at Wave Hill

I recently attended the opening for Remediate/Re-vision: Public Artists Engaging the Environmentat Wave Hill in the Bronx. The exhibition showcases artists’ projects that raise awareness about issues concerning watershed fragility, industrial and natural history, personal responsibility, and ecological balance. Artists in the exhibition include Lillian Ball, Jackie Brookner, Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, Natalie Jeremijenko, Patricia Johanson, Lorna Jordan, Matthew Mazzotta, Eve Mosher, Buster Simpson, Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Suzanne Lacy, and Yutaka Kobayashi, George Trakas and Mierle Laderman Ukeles.

The exhibition design provides each artist or artist team with a large wall presentation including text, photographic images, documentation and in some cases videos. It’s graphically crisp and clear to look at if somewhat bookish. Curator Jennifer McGregor explained to me that the entire exhibition will be very easy to travel as everything is designed on computer files that can be sent without shipping anything. Nice to see a “green” show with a green concept for travel! This exhibition focuses on current or recently completed projects with a few exceptions.

ecoartspace provided two video interviews for this exhibition. Patricia Johanson was interviewed by Amy Lipton and Jackie Brookner was interviewed by Patricia Watts. For viewing the interviews please go to the ecoartspace youtube page HERE.

Several of the artists were there for the opening and gave brief talks about their work. First to speak was Lillian Ball about her completed project WaterWash which is made of recycled glass, permeable pavement and vegetation to replace asphalt to act as storm water mitigation in Southhold Long Island, NY. She also presented an architectural model as a proposal for a new version of WaterWash for the Bronx River.

Buster Simpson then spoke about his work titled The Monolith in Redding, CA. This work was commissioned by Turtle Bay Exploration Park and created from the ruins of a former gravel plant and the building of the Shasta Dam. Simpson has proposed a water recirculation system and large solar panel for the rooftop of the structure.

George Trakas spoke about his Newton Creek Nature Walk in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He created public access to a long-inaccessible shoreline surrounding the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Trakas’ Nature Walk provides an interpretive frame on its surroundings. From staged granite steps to the water’s edge, visitors can sit on a series of getdowns perforating the bulkhead along the Whale Creek tributary.

Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, presented Terra Fugit. This project provided an opportunity for the artists to fully design a section of a new regional park in a fast growing, completely new community in Miramar, South Florida. The design explores the nature of the land, time, and human occupation and development on a 200-acre site located near the Everglades. This area was still open wetlands in the late 90’s and the waterway, excavated to obtain fill material for raising the grade of the surrounding site, has become the central focus of the park.

Lorna Jordan, spoke about her project Terraced Cascade in Scottsdale, Arizona. The work consists of a series of stepped, rib-like terraces and vertebrae-like cascades. Water flows down the cascade in a metaphorical gesture that suggests water rolling down a human spine—a miniature watershed allows storm water to supplement the irrigation system. Planted terraces provide a demonstration of desert-conscious landscaping and the sculptural garden is an abstraction of the human body in the desert landscape. The artwork’s objective of creatively using storm water is sensitive to the need for harvesting, using and reusing water in an otherwise dry region.

Jackie Brookner presented her recent project, Veden Taika, The Magic of Water. The work consists of three floating islands in the Halikonlahti Bird Pools in Salo, Finland. The largest island provides nesting sites for birds and the two smaller islands contain plants for phytoremediation, These islands are vegetated with plants specially chosen to remove pollutants from the water and sediments. During the warm months a cloud of mist, powered by wind, will rise up over the islands several times a day. Wind powered aerators beneath the islands oxygenate the water and stimulate microbial processes on the plant roots.

Eve Mosher, then spoke about her current project, Seeding the City, in NYC which utilizes social networking to site urban interventions in the form of green roof modules. It capitalizes on community building to introduce urban environmental issues and remediation tools. The modules and their accompanying flags and street level signage will track the growth of the network throughout the neighborhood. Online resources will include mapping of the project, tools for tracking local urban heat island effect and resources to recreate the project worldwide. ecoartspace participated in Seeding the City last fall as part of the exhibition Down to Earth at 53 Mercer St, NYC, we had four of the original planted roof modules on view.

Last, but far from least, Mierle Laderman Ukeles spoke eloquently about her ongoing decades of work with the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, NY. As the official artist in residence of the NYC Dept. of Sanitation, Mierle has been involved from the beginning in the plan to transform Fresh Kills Landfill into a public park. The park will eventually have four sections, and will be twice the size of Central Park. Mierle suggested that it might take another 20 – 30 years before the park is completed. (In the same breath she mentioned that she is now 70 yrs old). The average time period for all of the works represented in Remediate/Revision from inception to completion was 10 years. Mierle is an inspiration in her dedication and perseverance as are all of the artists in this exhibition that take on large-scale public remediation projects as art.

Meanwhile, Mierle has a proposal soon to be implemented for one million people to participate in an artwork for Fresh Kills Park titled PUBLIC OFFERINGS MADE BY ALL REDEEMED BY ALL, where “Donor Citizens” will release material offerings via cultural transfer stations. Stay tuned for more information on that as well as on upcoming events at Wave Hill associated with this exhibition.

Artists Talks will take place on Saturday October 9th with Natalie Jeremijenko and Patricia Johanson and on Sunday October 10th with Jackie Brookner, Eve Mosher and Susan Leibovitz Steinman at Wave Hill.

Remediate/Re-Vision is up at Wave Hill through November 28, 2010.

Images top to bottom: Veden Taika, The Magic of Water by Jackie Brookner; Mags Harries and Lajos Heder speaking about Terra Fugit; Waterwash by Lillian Ball; Terraced Cascade by Lorna Jordan, Mist rising over Veden Taika, The Magic of Water by Jackie Brookner, Seeding the City by Eve Mosher, Aerial view of 2200 acre boundary of Fresh Kills Landfill

Go to EcoArtSpace

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.