Embedded in the word “question” is the word “quest”. Both words indicate a desire for knowledge, but questioners generally ask others to supply this knowledge, while questers generally seek the knowledge themselves.
Until the advent of eco art, the process of defining one’s artistic mission was typically associated with quests, not questions. However, questions have become prominent among eco artists who are intent on contributing solutions to unresolved environmental problems. They ask such questions as:
“How did you make these selections?” is a question I have been asked frequently since TO LIFE! was published. It refers to the process I conducted to select the 43 artists featured in my new book. I’m pleased to satisfy this curiosity.
The curatorial model I utilize is established by a healthy ecosystem. I cultivate dynamic interconnections and maximize diversity. This process involves ferreting out examples of art works that go beyond being good. They must also serve as case studies. These in-depth examinations of individual instances or events encompass considerations that are broadly applied by other artists.
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.
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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!
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.