Christie’s Education presents a symposium on artists’ response to the environmental crisis. Organized by Dr. Julie Reiss, Program Director, M.A. Modern and Contemporary Art and the Market, Christie’s Education, New York and editor of Art, Theory and Practice in the Anthropocene (Vernon Press, 2018), the symposium will appeal to anyone who wishes to know more about specific ways artists are responding to global climate change and its consequences.
The day consists of moderated panel discussions which will address the following:
• How does contemporary art communicate information about global climate change and its consequences?
• How can art assist in decision making about climate change?
• What methods, materials and processes are among those being utilized by artists?
• How does the context in which we encounter this work impact our response to it?
• How do we gauge its effectiveness?
This symposium is timely given that art has become an important channel through which people encounter issues related to the environment. Indeed members of the scientific advocacy community also consider contemporary art an effective tool for communication. For several years, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has partnered visual artists with scientists. These joint efforts are needed because the vast repercussions of global climate change are difficult to grasp for most people, and individual artistic responses can make problems and solutions more obvious and comprehensible.
The keynote speaker at the symposium will be artist Mary Miss. Miss has been redefining how art is integrated into the public realm since the early 1970s. She is interested in how artists can play a more central role in addressing the complex issues of our times—making environmental and social sustainability into tangible experiences is a primary goal.
The program consists of moderated panel discussions primarily with artists. This will be followed by questions from the audience.
• Janet Biggs
• Justin Brice Guariglia
• Jenny Kendler
• Zaria Forman
• Mary Miss
• Aurora Robson
• Elizabeth Corr, Director of Artistic Partnerships for the NRDC, Chicago
• Miranda Massie, Director, The Climate Museum, New York
Image credit: Janet Biggs, Warning Shot, 2016. Courtesy of the artist, Analix Forever, Cristin Tierney Gallery and Connersmith
Justin Brice Guariglia is a contemporary visual artist known for his work on ecological issues. His photographic, sculptural, and installation works address the Anthropocene. Guariglia has frequently collaborated with scientists, philosophers, and artists to forge a deeper understanding of our climate crisis. REDUCE SPEED NOW!, Guariglia’s upcoming takeover of Somerset House UK will constitute an ambitious gathering of international voices on the subject of our climate future, presenting distinctive approaches to ecological language on highway message boards placed in the neo-classical courtyard.
His 2017 solo exhibition at the Norton Museum of Art debuted work originating from an ongoing series of missions flown with NASA over the glaciers of Greenland. The exhibition traveled to the Fisher Museum of Art in 2018. WE ARE THE ASTEROID, a collaborative project with philosopher Timothy Morton, premiered at Storm King Art Center this year. Iterations of the project have been displayed on the Chicago Navy Pier and at various sites across New York City in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of New York City, and the New York City Parks Department.
Guariglia is a recipient of an NEA grant, and is a Howard Foundation Fellow at Brown University, a Woods Hole Research Center Fellow, an Artist-in-Residence at the Anchorage Museum, and Artist-in-Residence at the Moody Center, Rice University.
Jennifer McGregor is the Senior Director of Arts, Education & Programs at Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River in the Bronx. She is responsible for exhibitions in the galleries and on the grounds that engage the public in a dialogue with nature, culture and site. She has foregrounded artists who are engaging with ecological themes through exhibitions such Ecological Consciousness: Artist as Instigator (2018) which focused on NYC projects, the retrospective Of Nature: Jackie Brookner (2017), and Remediate/Re-Vision: Public Artists Engaging the Environment (2010) which surveyed important environmental projects throughout the US.
Nancy Princenthal is a New York-based writer whose book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art (Thames & Hudson, 2015) received the 2016 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. She is also the author of Hannah Wilke (Prestel, 2010), and her essays have appeared in monographs on Doris Salcedo, Robert Mangold, Janet Biggs and Alfredo Jaar, among many others. A Contributing Editor (and former Senior Editor) of Art in America, she has also written for the New York Times and elsewhere. Princenthal has taught at Bard College, Princeton University, and Yale University, and is currently on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts. Her book Unspeakable Acts: Women, Sex, Violence and the Art of the 70s, will be published in fall 2019.
Dr. Julie Reiss gained her B.A. from Reed College and an M.Phil and Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. While still in graduate school she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Curatorial Fellowship by the Guggenheim Museum, and subsequently was Assistant Curator for Contemporary Art at the Jewish Museum, New York.
Prior to joining the faculty at Christie’s Education she taught courses on 20th century art at Hunter College and SUNY Purchase and is a regular lecturer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A pioneering scholar in the field of installation art, she also has taught courses on site-specific art at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She is the author of the newly published, Art, Theory and Practice in the Anthropocene (Vernon Press, 2018) and From Margin to Center: The Spaces of Installation Art (MIT Press, 1999), as well as numerous articles and reviews.
Aurora Robson is known predominantly for her meditative work intercepting the plastic waste stream. She practices shifting negative trajectories while formally referencing recurring childhood nightmares hybridized with organic forms found in nature. Robson holds a double major (B.A.) in visual arts and art history from Columbia University. Robson is also the founding artist of Project Vortex, an international collective of artists, designers and architects also working with plastic debris.
Robson explores potential at the intersection of art, science and education in order to develop a culture of creative stewardship while restricting the flow of plastic debris to our oceans.
Redefining how art is integrated into the public realm since the early 1970s, Mary Miss has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. In 2012, Miss founded City as Living Laboratory, creating framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through the arts. Interdisciplinary collaboration is central to her work, creating projects as diverse as designing a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City and creating an atlas of water for the city of Milwaukee in her current project, WaterMarks. Miss’s influential work has been recognized by numerous awards, including a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Urban Land Institute's Global Award for Excellence and the 2017 Bedrock of New York City Award.
Janet Biggs, a 2018 John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellow, is known for her work in video and performance. Biggs' work focuses on individuals in extreme landscapes or situations, often navigating the territory between art and science.
Biggs has had numerous solo exhibitions and screenings at galleries and institutions including the Museos de Tenerife; Neuberger Museum of Art; SCAD Museum of Art; Blaffer Art Museum; Musee d'art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Tampa Museum of Art.
Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, ArtForum, ARTNews, Art in America, among others.
Elizabeth Corr is the Director of Art Partnerships at NRDC, an environmental advocacy organization with three million members and online activists. Elizabeth created a visionary curatorial position at NRDC, pioneering an innovative platform for thoughtful and sustained collaboration between artists, scientists, and environmental leaders. Her work curating public art exhibitions and programming has increased public interest in and awareness of critical environmental issues. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, Earther and PRI. In 2018, Elizabeth was nominated for the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award, which recognizes environmental leaders making lasting change in the field of sustainability.
Zaria Forman documents climate change with pastel drawings. She travels to remote regions of the world to collect images and inspiration for her work, which is exhibited worldwide. She has flown with NASA on several Operation IceBridge missions over Antarctica, Greenland, and Arctic Canada. She was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and PBS. She delivered a TEDTalk, and spoke at Amazon, Google, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, exhibited in Banksy’s Dismaland, and was the artist-in-residence aboard the National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica. Her works have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, and the Smithsonian Magazine. Forman currently works and resides in Brooklyn, NY, and is represented by Winston Wächter Fine Art in New York, NY and Seattle, WA.
Jenny Kendler is an interdisciplinary artist and environmental activist based in Chicago, whose work has been shown at Storm King Art Center, the MCA Chicago, the Albright-Knox, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the MSU Broad Museum, the Arts Club of Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences, the Chicago Biennial and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Kendler holds an MFA from SAIC (2006), and is Board Co-Chair of artist residency ACRE. She has been the first Artist-in-Residence with environmental non-profit NRDC since 2014, and was recently awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for her community co-created project Garden for a Changing Climate.
Miranda Massie is the Climate Museum's Director. In 2014, she left a career in social justice law to start laying the groundwork for the Museum, which in 2018 had its breakout year of public programming, with three exhibitions including a ten-site public art installation across New York City. Miranda’s honors as a civil rights impact litigator include Fletcher Foundation, W.E.B. Dubois Institute and Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowships, as well as a Mentorship-in-Residence at Yale Law School. Miranda holds a J.D. from New York University, an M.A. from Yale University, and B.A. from Cornell University.