Overpopulation

Beyond the Horizon at Deutsche Bank NYC

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace
June 6 – September 21, 2011

Opening June 15th, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Deutsche Bank 60 Wall Street Gallery, NYC

Amy Lipton, guest curator

ID required for entry: RSVP HERE

Beyond the Horizon explores contemporary views of nature and habitat expressed through the tradition of landscape painting and drawing. Fourteen New York-based artists in Beyond the Horizon envision specific places from perceptual, historical and conceptual perspectives while at the same time they record the ongoing evolution of human interaction upon the environment. Previously held notions of nature vs. culture have changed for the 21st century and it is increasingly clear that all of life is one interconnected and interdependent system. Underlying the works in Beyond the Horizon is an acute awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, overpopulation, habitat changes, recycling, waste disposal, and reclamation. Some of the artists are committed to merging their art with action and implementation, while others are more interpretive. Using realism, fantasy or process as a source for imagination and transformation, they seek to create an awareness of loss and beauty in the marginal, the overused and the threatened.

Exhibition tours, an opportunity to ‘Meet the Artists’ and a panel discussion are planned

The artists are all based in the NY region and include Joy Garnett, Eva Strubel, Lisa Sanditz, Jason Middlebrook, Sarah McCoubrey, Eve Andree Laramee,George Boorujy, Peter Edlund, Sarah Trigg, Charlotte Schulz, Marion Wilson, Patricia Johanson, Aviva Rahmani,Spencer Finch

 

ecoartapace is one of the leading international organizations in a growing community of artists, scientists, curators, writers, nonprofits and businesses who are developing creative and innovative strategies to address our global environmental issues. We promote a diverse range of artworks that are participatory, collaborative, interdisciplinary and uniquely educational. Our philosophy embodies a broader concept of art in its relationship to the world and seeks to connect human beings aesthetically with the awareness of larger ecological systems.

Founded in 1997 by Tricia Watts as an art and nature center in development, ecoartspace was one of the first websites online dedicated to art and environmental issues. New York City curator Amy Lipton joined Watts in 1999, and together they have curated numerous exhibitions, participated on panels, given lectures at universities, developed programs and curricula, ad written essays for publications from both the East and West Coasts. They advocate for international artists whose projects range from scientifically based ecological restoration to product based functional artworks, from temporal works created outdoors with nature to eco-social interventions in the urban public sphere, as well as more traditional art objects.

ecoartspace has been a project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in
Los Angeles since 1999.

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“I am overpopulation”

Milicia Tomic and Roza El-Hassan

When I lived in the US, I got the idea that environmentalists there seem a lot freer with discussing the concept of overpopulation than they are here in Europe. There’s a possible reason for this. We have direct historical experience of a regimes that have practiced population control – not just in the Nazi era, but more recently in the Balkans.

European liberal politics equates  the idea of population reduction  with a kind of Malthusian misanthropy; shouldn’t we be looking for ways to feed the nine billion population sustainably, rather than to deny them? And there is almost always a subtle tang of  racism and misanthropy in the idea of population control. But what if that idea of mass sustainability is impossible? Lovelock predicts the human population will collapse to one billion by 2100.

Jonathan Porritt sounds stung in his column A Sustainable Population on the Forum For The Future site that people should even dare question his motivation for promoting the Optimum Population Trust’s “Stick At Two” campaign:

You’d have thought I’d advocated compulsory sterilisation, emasculation, euthanasia, and baby-slaughtering all in one fell swoop. Melanie Philips likened me to Pol Pot and Hitler (who was “green” after all!), and when Fox News in the US got hold of the story, every religious nutcase with nothing better to do crawled out from under their stones to suggest the best thing I could do to help address population pressure would be to top myself. Instantly. Logic and sound evidence were not much in evidence.

He insists that it’s an issue we have to consider urgently. He’s right to suggest that it’s a taboo topic; maybe with good reason, givenits history.

Trying to think of how artists would respond to the idea of  overpopulation I can only come up with two examples. The first is the Hungarian/Syrian artist Roza El-Hassan, who did a series of works over the last decade called R thinking dreaming about overpopulation, [above right] which included producing t-shirts that read “I Am Overpopulation”. Her works approach the topic from a feminist viewpoint, but also envisage it in terms of European racism. If there was any doubt about the latter element, El-Hassan participated in the billboard above with the artist Milicia Tomic. If you don’t recognise him, the person driving the Porshe in the photo is supposed to be the Islamophobic Austrian politician Jorg Haider. The peculiar artistic irony of the photo is that Jorg Haider died at the wheel of a fast car a few months ago while driving several units over the limit.

The other is the recently-mentioned Extreme Green Guerillas, who take even more provocative viewpoint by advocating – more accurately appearing to advocate – voluntary euthanasia at the age of 40.

Any other nominations for “art about overpopulation”?

Main picture: Milica Tomic and Roza El-Hassan driving in a Porsche and thinking about overpopulation by EXTRA-TERRITORIA, Vienna 2002; R. thinking dreaming about overpopulation by Roza El-Hassan, 1999

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