Beware of the following sentence, because it contradicts the belief of so many of my enviornmentally conscious colleagues and friends who seem convinced that any human interaction with the non-human environment is either a little bit damaging, a lot damaging, or dedicated to undoing the damage.
I believe we humans are fully capable of enhancing the vitality and diversity of any ecosystem, even those that are essentially healthy.
If anyone needs to be convinced that eco art’s offerings are richly diversified, may I suggest considering the movement’s temporal reference points.
Eco art is bracketed at one end by work that resonates with evidence of the current era. The other half of the bracket is represented by work that is purged of all suggestions of the current era.
Andy Gracie and Red Earth reveal that eco art embraces the furthest extremes of the human experience – from the timely to the timeless.
The Morning After the Deluge
Today dawned. But it was not an ordinary day. For everyone living within a multi-hundred mile swath on the east side of the United States, it was, literally, “The Morning After the Deluge”, a replay of the Genesis account of the epic flood wrought by God to purge the earth of sin.
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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:
There is as much to learn from studying those who model the values we object to as by examining those we admire. That is how Andy Warhol got into my eco art textbook, TO LIFE! Eco Art In Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. His work serves as an instructive ally by embodying environmental UNconsciousness.
Warhol manifests the inverse of the ethics, themes, and aesthetics that characterize eco art. I propose that Wade Guyton, whose current exhibition at the Whitney Museum has been receiving accolades from very-hard-to-please critics, might serve as a lesson in environmental unconsciousness too.
Both artists tamper with fine art protocols by harnessing the human hand that held a paiint brush. Warhol restrained manual expressiveness by relying on silkscreen printing techniques. Guyton relies upon the Epson priinter, Microsoft Word, desktop computers, Adobe Photoshop, bitmapped file, UltraChrome andDurabrite inkjet. The title of his exhibtion reflects the importance of his creative means. It is “Wade Guyton: OS”. The OS stands for Operating System.
“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.
Gelitin’s devious scheme could not have been discerned a moment before the opening of their exhibition at the Greene Naftali Gallery in Manhattan. The first visitors beheld a gallery that was tastefully arrayed with sculptures perched on pedestals.
The strange lever projecting from the bottom of the pedestals was the first clue that something was awry. It beckoned to be stepped on. Those who acted on the provocation toppled the sculpture that was perched on the pedestal to the ground. For example, a tower of black buckets tumbled, spilling multi-colored plastic Easter eggs all over the gallery floor!
Natalie Jeremijenko clumsily got out of my car. She awkwardly collected her belongings from the back seat and shuffled away – not at all like the blithe woman I had seen earlier in the day when she delivered an inspiring talk at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. This transformation occurred in the interum between the conclusion of her talk and her visit to my homestead. She had recounted numerous projects that combined humor, ingenuity, and pragmatism. They:
– alleviated problems associated with obesity among WILD animals living among humans
ENCLOSURES: Andy Goldsworthy / Red Earth / Fernando Garcia-Dory
An ‘enclosure’ is a sheepfold, typically made of rock scavenged on site, that ‘enclose’ sheep when they are rounded up from the meadows in order to milk, treat, or clip them. The term applies to three artists in “TO LIFE!”.
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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.
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