Cabin in the Woods

Storm King Art Center exhibits architectural projects that take on climate change

Art East
Storm King Art Center exhibits architectural projects that take on climate change. Mark Dion, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, 2017–18. Mixed-media installation, 16 ft. 2 3/4 in. x 24 ft. 1 1/2 in. x 9 ft. Photo: Jerry L. Thompson. (Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.)
Storm King Art Center exhibits architectural projects that take on climate change. Mark Dion, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, 2017–18. Mixed-media installation, 16 ft. 2 3/4 in. x 24 ft. 1 1/2 in. x 9 ft. Photo: Jerry L. Thompson. (Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.)

The group exhibition Indicators: Artists on Climate Change and the solo presentation Outlooks: Elaine Cameron-Weir opened last month at Storm King Art Center, in New Windsor, NY. The two exhibitions present an array of large-scale sculptural projects, along with photos, videos, drawings, and other works that grapple with the human impact on the environment and the history of the 500-acre site.

In Indicators, the 18 participating artists and collectives engage with the art center’s site, and with the environment, geography, and infrastructure more broadly, some through explicitly architectural means.

Mark Dion, The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist, 2017–18. Mixed-media installation, 16 ft. 2 3/4 in. x 24 ft. 1 1/2 in. x 9 ft. Photo: Jerry L. Thompson. (Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.)

Field Station for the Melancholy Marine Biologist by Mark Dion is a wooden cabin housing a “scientific lab” with contents that respond to the surrounding ecology. Field Station is part of Dion’s broader project of appropriating scientific and archaeological methods to trouble the ways we come to know our environment.

Gabriela Salazar’s sculpture Matters in Shelter (and Place, Puerto Rico) uses the visual language of temporary shelters built after hurricanes or the semilleros used to protect young coffee plants as commentary on personal narrative and climate change. The typical concrete cinder blocks that support the structure will be gradually changed out for bricks made of compressed coffee grounds, which will in turn slowly disintegrate. Salazar’s piece meditates on the very fragility of the built world and highlights the paradoxical place of concrete in it; it’s a material both fundamental to making structures that can withstand climate change-caused severe weather, yet it releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide while being produced.

Gabriela Salazar, Matters in Shelter (and Place, Puerto Rico), 2018. Coffee clay (used coffee grounds, flour, salt), concrete block, wood, and polypropylene mesh tarp,12 x 16x 20 ft. Photo: Jerry L. Thompson. (Courtesy the artist.)

Other exhibiting artists in Indicators include David Brooks, Dear Climate, Ellie Ga,  Justin Brice Guariglia, Allison Janae Hamilton, Jenny Kendler,  Maya Lin, Mary Mattingly, Alan Michelson, Mike Nelson, Steve Rowell, Rebecca Smith, Tavares Strachan, Meg Webster, and Hara Woltz.

Storm King also is presenting the sixth iteration of its Outlooks series with Outlooks: Elaine Cameron-Weir. Cameron-Weir created A toothless grin. A STAR EXPANSION! GLOBE OF DEATH A graveyard orbita site-specific sculpture combining a metal sphere, inspired by motorcyclist’s “globes of death,” the metallic globes bikers enter and speed around inside, and a military-style shelter. The closed globe set in an open field is intended to be suggestive of communication devices and scientific apparatuses—real and imagined, current and future—while the shelter suggests someone watching over.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, A toothless grin. A STAR EXPANSION! GLOBE OF DEATH A graveyard orbit, 2018. Photo: Jerry L. Thompson. (Courtesy the artist and Hannah Hoffman Gallery.)

Weir researched the history of Storm King mountain, and let it inform her choices in materials. One such material inspiration were the steel fasteners and bolts of the Star Expansion Industries Corporation which was owned by Ralph E. Ogden and his son-in-law Peter Stern, who founded Storm King Art Center. The project also engages with the history of a successful 18-year fight to block a ConEdison power plant in Storm King Mountain.

Indicators: Artists on Climate Change
Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY
Through November 11

Outlooks: Elaine Cameron-Weir
Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY
Through November 25

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