H20 – Preview: Omar Lopez

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

On May 6, 2011, H20: The Art of Conservation, at the Water Conservation Garden, San Diego, CA, will open to the public. Green Public Art reviewed over 1100 artists portfolios before inviting 14 San Diego artists to participate in the exhibition which offers San Diego homeowners an artistic alternative to incorporate water conservation into their own garden spaces. Green Public Art awarded each artist a mini-grant to develop their site-specific sculptures. In the weeks leading up to the exhibition opening the artist’s concepts will be revealed on this site. Questions? Contact Rebecca Ansert, Curator, Green Public Art at

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CONCEPT:  Deterioration = blooming of seeds within = potential for failure, accidents and a story. This sculpture, approximately a 4’x4’x4’ cube, will be made from a hardened mixture of clay, straw, fertilized soil, and various species of plant seed. As a vessel it consists of guilds, biomes, and designed communities of complimentary plant species. The sculpture will serve as a sort of time capsule, carrying seeds of various ecosystems into the near future. The work is reminiscent of a living tomb in the Egyptian sense, as a vault or holding vessel which carries preserved life to the blooming of another life. The piece can be left intact or split up to speed process and facilitate distribution. Pieces or chunks can be given away to friends/family, or taken and planted as far away as the owner wishes to take it. As a solid piece, it imbues a state of potential and can remain in a form of stasis. The process of the sculpture’s decay gives way to further emergence of life.

ABOUT: Omar Lopez is a writer, artist and environmental enthusiast. Lopez studied art, history, philosophy and English at Southwestern College and San Diego City College. He strives to be descriptive, not prescriptive and to illuminate things accurately. He is most interested in dynamics, theatrics, emotive structures and the noble vulnerability in things. He is passionate about furthering the ambition of wonder and is often informed by his experience in construction, design, travel, mountaineering and his passion for direct engagement with strangers.

SEE another Lopez installation, In the Belly of the Whale in the Bell Jar, currently on view at Art Produce until April 3, 2011. Check gallery’s website for times and additional special events.

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.

Go to Green Public Art

Direct Action Artists

“Remember, if someone you don’t know very well is trying to get you to build a bomb, just say no!”

So speak the puppets of the Earth First! Roadshow.

At the recent Earth Matters On Stage EcoDrama symposium, PhD candidate Sarah Standing read a paper analyzing  Earth First! and Greenpeace activities as performance. Both groups are famous for direct actions meant to draw attention to ecological plight, but differ in their extremes: Greenpeace appeals to those who prefer non-violent tactics, and Earth First! is known for spawning a few “domestic terrorist organizations.”

While not actually committing acts of terrorism, Earth First! activists are famous for tree-sits and other extreme measures. Some of its founders are credited with fake-cracking the Glen Canyon Dam in 1981. Recently its members have turned to more traditional theatrics in an attempt to educate and energize the movement.

Performers of the Earth First! Roadshow travel the country in a Chevy van with a timeline of “green scare” arrests, a slideshow of Earth First! actions, a map of ecological disasters and actions in America, and a security culture puppet show with a cast of woodland creatures. The pig puppet plays the cop, the owl is the narrator, and everyone scolds a fox named Danny for bragging about his radical graffiti. You can listen to a reading of the puppet show here.

The website ups the drama by comparing the roadshow to The Fellowship of the Ring:

. . . the roadshow is a great tool for cultivating resistance. There are countless examples to draw from in the story of radical movements before us: militant labor organizing tours, anti-fascist resistance recruitment and international speaking tours to build cross-border solidarity. The origin of Earth First! is credited to a few roadshows that kicked it all off in the early 1980s. We are building on this tradition; akin to a fellowship crossing Middle Earth to amass insurgents to face Mordor head-on.

Enemies of the Earth beware . . .

Go to the Green Museum