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Indepth Arts News:

"Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art"
2005-10-07 until 2006-01-15
Smart Museum of Art
Chicago, IL, USA United States of America

Sustainable design attempts to meet the needs of the present without compromising those of future generations. Balancing environmental, social, economic, and aesthetic concerns, sustainable design has the potential to transform everyday life and is being enacted around the world in large and small ways not only by architects and designers but also by growing numbers of activists, corporations, policymakers, and possibly even your next-door neighbors. Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art explores how this design philosophy resonates with an emerging generation of international artists – including Allora & Calzadilla, Nils Norman, Dan Peterman, and Michael Rakowitz, among others – who combine a fresh aesthetic sensibility with a constructively critical approach to the production, dissemination, and display of art.

Co-organized by the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, and iCI (Independent Curators International), New York, Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art opens October 6, 2005 and continues at the Smart Museum until January 15, 2006. At the public opening reception on October 6, 5 – 7 p.m., Exhibition and Smart Museum Curator Stephanie Smith will lead a gallery talk at 5:00 p.m., and Smart Museum Dana Feitler Director Anthony Hirschel and Independent Curators International Executive Director Judith Olch Richards will offer remarks at 6:00 p.m. Many exhibiting artists will be available to discuss their work.

Beyond Green includes existing works, commissions, and previously presented work that has been “recycled,” spotlighting ways in which artists are building paths to new forms of practice. Contributing artists and artists’ groups from the United States and Europe include Allora & Calzadilla; Free Soil; JAM; Learning Group; Brennan McGaffey in collaboration with Temporary Services; Nils Norman; People Powered; Dan Peterman; Marjetica Potric; Michael Rakowitz; Frances Whitehead, WochenKlausur; and Andrea Zittel. Each artist or artists’ group is represented by one or two major works and in some cases, related drawings, models, or photographs supplement the exhibition.

Environmental issues have been addressed in works of art since at least the 1970s, and many of those earlier works might be retrospectively labeled as sustainable art. The artists included in Beyond Green, however, all came of age during the late 1980s and 1990s, and their work draws to varying degrees on two key strands of recent art: the productive overlap between art and design, and developments in critical art practice. Where many of their predecessors worked within specific locales or imagined massively-scaled interventions, the artists in Beyond Green draw on the visual languages of design and on new relational, process-based modes of art-making to create works of art that emphasize the inextricable link between environmental concerns and other social relationships.

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