Suzanne Lacy

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

So you want to make radical work about radiation waste, for example, and whilst you write grant applications, you also want to build interest around the work, and avoid reliance on ‘committees’ effectively giving you permission to make the work by waiting for a grant to be approved.  You are an artist first and fund-raising is a task, not an occupation.

Yucca Mountain Glow, Eve Andrée Laramée, Digital Print Archival Ink/Paper

Slouching Towards Yucca Mountain, a video installation by Eve Andrée Laramée – United States Artists – Great art forms here.

This is the second really interesting project which a US-based artist has brought to my attention through the crowd-source fund-raising mechanism of UnitedStatesArtists (the other one was Suzanne Lacy’s The Performing Archive).  These are projects where the support is in the form of publicity, and sometimes match-funding.  (UnitedStatesArtists also offer Fellowships to selected artists.)  I suspect that to benefit from this site you still have to apply and in this case the money comes from your own list of contacts.

The UnitedStatesArtists web site says a few of interesting things,

All donations simultaneously support artists’ projects and the nonprofit mission of USA. The site is built on a joint fundraising model: 81% of every dollar pledged goes directly to the artist’s project, and 19% supports USA’s programs for artists and the site’s administration.

But it also says,

United States Artists has created a structure to identify America’s finest artists and to grant money to them in an efficient manner. Thanks to the generosity of its founders, USA’s operating expenses are fully funded for the next five years. This means 100% of donor contributions are directed to the artists we support.

It also says,

Our horizon line is not three, five, or 25 years, but rather 100 years and beyond. We are building a program that is privately funded, prestigious, and permanently endowed.

And it says,

Historically, public support for the arts and artists is unstable and unreliable; therefore USA will accept only private contributions.

And it doesn’t say,

by ‘private’ they mean individuals and corporations (so it is clear that Ford is a major contributor, but the other corporations are not clear.  Corporations should be explicit and some ethical limitations should be set).

Eve’s project is excellent and you really ought to support it: even $25 makes a difference.

No fund-raising is without hard work.  This is another approach to the problem.  It does make it more personal rather than remote and bureaucratic.  I do want this project to happen, and I did want Suzanne Lacy’s to happen, so I did contribute.  Art may belong to a ‘gift’ culture, but where does the gift come from?

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

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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

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Otis Connects with the San Joaquin Valley

This is an awesome community arts project that connects graduate students in the Social Practice program at Otis College of Art and Design with the rural agricultural area of Laton, California. Initiated by Suzanne Lacy who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley. For more information go to https://wikis.otis.edu/sjv/index.php/Welcome!_Bienvenidos!_Bem-vindo!

The very first Social Practice program “graduate exhibition” open till June 6th at the Santa Monica College Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery (includes work by Candida Ayala, Andy Manoushagain, Ofunne Obiamiwe, Jules Rochielle Sievert and Tory Tepp). Installation shot below:

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