Thursday, July 3, 2014

Art, Sustainability and Agriculture

Andrea Reynosa’s “John Street Pasture,” a public project at 1 John Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn, in collaboration with Brooklyn Grange, Alloy, & Smack Mellon (photograph by Etienne Frossard, courtesy of Smack Mellon)

Since I have written recently (here) about the many artists working at the intersection of art, science and nature, could not resist sharing this recent post from Hyperallergic about a new show and installation organized by Smack Mellon in Brooklyn's DUMBO of artists exploring urban agriculture and sustainability issues - FOODshed: Agriculture and Art in Action.

The project illustrated above - which is part of that group show - is also intended to address soil remediation on this site, which is something Mel Chin has addressed in his work for years, from Revival Field in 1990 through the Walker Art Center, to more recently Operation Paydirt in New Orleans.

Brooklyn (natch) even has an organization called the Center for Strategic Art and Agriculture. And a quick Googling of "art + agriculture" produces a plethora of organizations and programs all across the country, indeed around the world. There is a group, Art4Agriculture, in Australia. And The Fields Project takes its inspiration from a group of artists from the Art Institute of Chicago that in 1898 founded the Eagles Nest Art Colony to "bring art and agriculture together." (This is clearly not a new concept.)

PHOTO: Cribs, Installation by Brenda Baker Farm/Art DTour 2012
And, of course, this is not just an "urban agriculture" phenomenon. There are many extraordinary organizations and artists bring art and agriculture together in rural areas of the country - the "heartland". A great example is the work of Wormfarm in rural Wisconsin, which produces Farm/Art DTour (and a related project called Food Chain), supported by ArtPlace America - "a 10-day 50 mile, self guided tour through scenic farmland punctuated by temporary art installations."

And, finally, in my little art and agriculture snapshot, I would be remiss if I did not mention Colorado's own M12 collective. This is a group of artists based in the high plains of Colorado that "explores the aesthetics of rural cultures and landscapes." They have done projects all over the world. Pictured above is their base of operations, the Feed Store, in Byers, Colorado.

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