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. 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. 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 orbit, a 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. 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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With buses running from the Lever House on Park Avenue, the Noguchi Museum was flush with Manhattanites last night for the opening of Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City. The show of ideas by local artist teams—led by Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija and George Trakas—fleshes out urban dreams for the mostly industrial area. In anything but an autocratic manner, the show—the first ever at the museum to include contemporary artists and not Noguchi—encourages dialogue between large institutions, government, and the public. Columbia’s Gwendolyn Wright was on hand and praised the effort. “It’s not just an artist looking at infrastructure, but more of an exchange of information,” said Wright. “How do we see the gritty beauty of it, rather than ignore it.” To that end, George Trakas "River Shorline Walk" proposed lighting the Trans Canada power plant and building boardwalks in front of Con Edison substations. Mary Miss's red, black and white displays for "Ravenswoood/Call: If Only the City Could Speek" outline a think tank district where residents, engineers, artists, scientists and urbanists explore new ways of exchanging ideas about sustainable living. Rirkrit Tiravanija's "Greenway and Community Kitchen" envisions Broadway covered in drivable green grass with a community kitchen pavilion anchoring Socrates Park. (he said he just wanted to be able to have a coffee when he visits the park.) Natalie Jeremijenko shifts the show into high theory mode for "UP_2_U" exploring a "tasty biodiverse future" via "real-time 'smart city' technology" including among very many options a hulu hoop for seed dispersal. A good portion of the show is the locale itself. Getting to and from the museum resets the mind. LIC is nearly the size of all of lower Manhattan below 14th Street. Art and industry have been meeting at the river there ever since Noguchi and Mark DiSuvero settled in about 50 years ago. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the city a collaborative effort between the two is not only possible but highly desirable. As AN reported a couple of weeks ago that conversation is still in the early stages. The show is part exhibit, part advocacy: consultant Claire Weisz has even taken parts of it to the Department of Transportation for feedback. But as Wright noted the show presses more for a dialogue, not a monologue. Grassroots activism remains key, but so does collaboration. "Your voice will get hoarse from criticizing," said Wright. "But if a community does something in small specific ways, by creating moments for exchange, those moments become a catalyst."