Artists, curators, and art historians explored topics found in the exhibition beyond earth art • contemporary artists and the environment (January 25–June 8, 2014).
The symposium was funded by Cornell’s Atkinson Forum in American Studies Program and organized by Andrea Inselmann, curator, and the education department of the Johnson Museum of Art.
Welcome and Introduction
Stephanie Wiles, the Richard J. Schwartz Director
Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art & photography
“The Art of the Anthropocene”
William L. Fox, director of the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno
William L. Fox has variously been called an art critic, science writer, and cultural geographer. He has published fifteen books on cognition and landscape, numerous essays in art monographs, magazines, and journals, and fifteen collections of poetry. Fox has researched and written books set in the Antarctic, the Arctic, and the deserts of Chile, Australia, and the United States. He is a fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and Explorers Club, and recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Science Foundation. He has been a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Clark Art Institute, the Australian National University, and National Museum of Australia, and twice been a Lannan Writer-in-Residence. He is currently a guest researcher at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.
“Shock and Awe: Environmentalist Art’s Representation of the Anthropocene”
Suzaan Boettger, PhD, is an art historian, art critic, and international lecturer based in New York City. As a native of Berkeley, California, that area’s proximity to disparate natural terrains informed her historical account of the onset and development of the earliest genre of land art, "earthworks," which debuted in New York in 1968. She is the author of Earthworks: Art and the Landscape of the Sixties, the first comprehensive history of the Earthworks movement in the United States, providing an in-depth analysis of the monumental forms that initiated the broader genre of Land Art. Boettger has contributed to major periodicals on both coasts and to anthologies and exhibition catalogues. She is currently working on a book about environmentalist art and was recently promoted to full Professor at Bergen Community College, New Jersey, where since 2003 she has taught history of modern and contemporary art.
Artist Lucy Orta has been a professor of Art and the Environment at London College of Fashion since 2002 and is currently the Chair of Art and the Environment at the University of the Arts London. In recognition of her contribution to the visual arts, she has received an honorary Master from Nottingham Trent University and an honorary Doctor of letters from the University of Brighton. Her work has been the focus of major survey exhibitions at the Wiener Secession, Austria (1999); the Contemporary Art Museum of the University of South Florida, for which she received the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts award (2001); and the Barbican Centre, London (2005). In 1999, Lucy and her husband Jorge founded Studio Orta. Lucy + Jorge Orta’s collaborative practice focuses on the social and ecological factors of environmental sustainability. Food Water Life: Lucy + Jorge Orta, an exhibition of their work organized by Tufts University, is currently on view at the Johnson Museum of Art as part of the beyond earth art project.
Amy Lipton, codirector of ecoartspace
Amy Lipton owned and directed Amy Lipton Gallery in New York from 1989 to 1996. Since then she has organized numerous exhibitions, including the pioneering Ecovention: Artists Transform Ecologies, cocurated with Sue Spaid, at the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati in 2002. In 2009 she and Lily Wei cocurated Into the Trees at the Fields Sculpture Park at Omi International Art Center. In May 2013 her public art project TRANSported took place in conjunction with the New Museum’s Ideas City Festival at the World Financial Center Plaza and at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in New York.
ecoartspace is a nonprofit organization providing opportunities for artists who address environmental issues. Working together since 1999, Patricia Watts (founder/curator) and Amy Lipton (director/curator) have collaborated with hundreds of artists and organizations to produce exhibitions, public art works, programs, and events nationally and internationally. Recent projects include the development of a video archive of interviews with pioneering ecological artists and an Art & Ecology Learning Guide series of replicable social practice public art projects, including the release of Eve Mosher’s HighWaterLine action guide at the Marfa Dialogues, Rauschenberg Project Space, New York, in 2013.
Artist Christian Houge is based in Oslo. His photographs explore the human condition as realized through and influenced by nature. Photographs from his series Shadow Within, intimate and revealing images taken over several months spent living with a pack of wolves, are featured in beyond earth art • contemporary artists and the environment, currently on view at the Johnson Museum of Art. Houge’s other projects include Arctic Technology, a series of photographs taken on Svalbard, an island in Northern Norway that has one of the cleanest atmospheres on earth, where scientists have built extensive technical constructions for climate research and space observations. Houge is currently working on a self-financed humanitarian book project exploring fear and courage; as part of this project, he has met with Aung San Suu Ki in Burma to better understand courage, and with the Dalai Lama to explore love and compassion. Houge’s work has been shown in exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe.
Jack Elliott, associate professor, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis
Renate Ferro, visiting assistant professor, Department of Art
Amanda Jo Goldstein, assistant professor, Department of English
Johannes Lehmann, professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
Marion Wilson, artist on view in beyond earth art
Q&A with William L. Fox, Suzaan Boettger, and Lucy Orta