Weather Report

Creativity, Action and Rhetoric.

Any fellowship program that respects artists will not set out like missionaries to train them to be good citizens, which will do as much to reinforce the popular assumption that artists are irresponsible children as supporting facile aesthetic tantrums . . . The visual arts field should be seen as en ecosystem in which many different kinds of art must be able to flourish.

– Michael Brenson, “Visionaries and Outcasts”

Last year at the UN talks in Copenhagen there was an awful lot of art. I mean a big glorious bucketful. I mean exhibitions and performances and people-hosting-people-as-art, and there was a great amount of debate as to how that was going to affect policy. If at all. In an interview with me for Inhabitat.com, Ian Garrett of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts reported that in Copenhagen, “These creative ventures, in talking about climate change, are reinforcing what people are feeling around town here and they have an increasing voice with the policy makers of the world,” while admitting that the influence art had on policy was indirect at best.

So now what? Tonight, in New York, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there was a gathering of minds looking to answer exactly that question. Part of the PEN World Voices of International Literature, the even was called Weather Report: What Can We Do? and featured, among others, Bill McKibben, author of the 350.org campaign, Skeptical Environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, Climatologist James Hansen and Dot Earthist Andrew Revkin.

Would love to read somebody’s lecture notes. In the meantime, I’ll be “doing” some blogging and art-ing.

Go to the Green Museum

PEN American Center – Weather Report: What Can We Do?

When: Thursday, April 29

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, 83rd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York City

What time: 8–9:30 p.m.

With Jostein GaarderJames HansenFrederic HaugeBjørn LomborgBill McKibbenAndrew Revkin, and Cynthia Rosenzweig; moderated by Robert Silvers

Tickets: $25/$20 PEN Members/The Metropolitan Museum of Art Members and New York Review of Books subscribers; www.smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444. For Member discount code, please contact Lara Tobin at lara@pen.org or (212) 334-1660 ext. 126.

“What Can We Do?” brings together on one panel some of the premier scientists and writers from the U.S. and Scandinavia: Frederic Hauge, founder and director of the international environmental organization the Bellona Foundation; Bjørn Lomborg, an Adjunct Professor at Copenhagen Business School and author of the controversial The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming; Jostein Gaarder, author of the internationally-acclaimed novel Sophie’s World and creator of the Sophie Prize; Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature, Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, and numerous other books; James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists and author of Storms of My Grandchildren; and author and environment journalist Andrew Revkin, whose biography of Chico Mendes, formed the basis of the feature film The Burning Season. Cynthia Rosenzweig is co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the mayor advising the city on adaptation for its critical infrastructure. The New York Review of Books editor, Robert Silvers will guide the discussion about how we can turn back the tides of global warming.

For more information: PEN American Center – Weather Report: What Can We Do?.

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

Go to EcoArtSpace