Car Protests / Art Follies

Posted Wednesday October 17, 2012 At 15:16PM . Artists, Blog

When Ant Farm installed "Cadillac Ranch", its infamous/renowned artwork along side a Texas panhandle highway, the members of the group were not lonely art cowboys on the plains expressing concern regarding Americans' addiction to driving.


At the time, activist members of a California group that called itself "Urban Ecology" were roller skating around city streets depositing 'tickets' on cars that exhorted their owners to reflect upon their driving habits. Instead of fines, the 'tickets' listed oil costs and information on fuel production.

In the mid 1970s, Richard Register joined this crusade by growing a vegetable patch in his 1968 baby blue metal flake Pontiac GTO. For three years"The Veggie Car" produced carrots, celery, lettuc, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, beans, artichokes, corn, melons, squash, sunflowers, irises, poppies, marigolds, and violets.  Image of Veggie Car


All three projects employed humor to comment on the serious environmental concern.


Smiling seems less commonly used as a strategy for environmental reform today. Perhaps this is because it has become more difficult to smile in the face of mounting evidence of impending planetary disasters.


Gardening as a Subversive Act

Posted Tuesday October 16, 2012 At 02:47AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Artists Armed with Spades

Gardens have long provided mourishment for the body and soul. They have inspired poetry and reverie. It is only in the contemporary world that gardens have become centers of radical resistance. For that reason, many contemporary artists have diverted their studio practices to the garden.


The cultural dissidence of the gardener far exceeds the production of food. Gardening is a subversive act because it counters multiple norms that define contemporary lifestyles:


- tending resources instead of utilzing and exploiting them;


- cooperating with multiple forms of life, including insects, fungus, and bacteria;


- defying digital abstractions by engaging multiple senses;


- escaping from global dependences through self-sustaining activities;


- receiving immediate rewards for effort instead of monetary payment


- replacing the personal and the local for the anonymous and the global


- utifying aspects of life typically connected only by money.


Gardens are autonomous zones, exempt from municipal ordinances, rules of law, authority of government, and control of corporations. They are also zones of significant contemporary art practices.

See Nicole Fournier

Fernando Garcia-Dory - Honored

Posted Monday October 15, 2012 At 01:08AM . Artists, Blog


Fernando Garcia Dory maintained his modesty even as he delivered an erudite talk and accepted the Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change at the 2012 Creative Time Summit in New York city on Saturday.

His inspiring comments dealt with freedom being the most perfect work of art, that freedom could only be achieved through beauty, and that the special role of the artist involves conceiving of the possibility of freedom.

Artists are endowed with this culture-shifting capacity because they need not be limited by existing conditions and they need not respect the status quo. That is why artists can envision alternative values. They fulfill the myth of creation.

Dory then provided a few examples, delivered with humility, of ways that he attempts to fulfill the ennobling mission of the artist. In some instances he is an activist, organizing shepherds from many countries to guide their flocks into Brussels where the European Union was meeting. In other instances he provides a serene emptiness which is required to contemplate beauty and revel in wonder.

In sum, Dory's distinction is earned by offering a gentle but compelling alternative to the two prevailing modes of behavior, neither of which are productive: we are either frozen in fear or are violent in protest. Fernando's website


Posted Friday October 12, 2012 At 00:52AM . Blog, Eco Issues

This two-word order is brandished in bold letters that dominate a red field, commanding its space as it commands the viewer's attention. The phrase appears on a poster designed by Critical Art Ensemble, and this poster is one of a series that appears in a new publication  aptly titled "Disturbances". Within its pages the group 'self-assesses' its 25 year history, providing readers with an opportunity to join in assessing a history replete with transgressive actions, civil disobedience, digital resistance, and contestational biology. Posters encapsulate each audacious action. They announce:

Useless Technology: Super Savings!

Book/Web/Blog Launch

Posted Thursday October 11, 2012 At 02:12AM . Blog, Eco Issues

Please join me. Even without champagne and bugles, the launch of this website is a celebration of the creative ingenuity currently percolating at the intersection between ecology and art.

Today marks the culmination of the multi-year preparation to research, write, edit, design and produce TO LIFE! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. The book is the first guide for students and professors wishing to explore the burgeoning eco art movement and the inspiring examples of creative ingenuity it offers.

This day also marks the inauguration of the book's blog that will provide continual infusions of information and commentary. It will ensure the book's content remains timely as planetary conditions evolve, environmental predicaments surface, and new solutions are tested.

Internationally, artists are designing a new world order - complete with behavioral, scientific, technological, economic, ethical, and religous alternatives to the unsustainable status quo. Their diverse efforts share a common mission - to establish a niche for humanity that allows all life forms to co-exist. Their urgent appeal testifies to art's crucial role in contemporary society.

This book/blog/website is devoted to facilitating their efforts in collaboration with instructors and their students on campuses everywhere. Please contribute to this exciting venture.


Posted Monday September 17, 2012 At 21:52PM . Blog, Eco Issues

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, one of the artists featured in TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, identified four ways of envisioning the Earth:

EARTH as WIFE suggests a reliable and supportive partner

EARTH as VIRGIN implies a territory ripe for gratification and pleasure

EARTH as WHORE introduces the possibility of degradation and exploitation

EARTH as MOTHER conjures the assuance of bounty and steadfastness.

vaccine against violence

Posted Wednesday September 12, 2012 At 07:49AM . Artists, Blog


Pedro Reyes is featured in my new book, TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. The photo provides evidence of why I chose to include him, when so many artists had to be rejected.

Hugging the Vaccine Against Violence dummie after everything he has endured (photo Mathilde Fernande Fernandez)