Murals and Installations
Alejandro Durán, "Washed Up" Project, 2010-, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Despite being a protected area, global plastic trash washes up on Sian Ka'an's shores like everywhere else. Duran began to collect and color-sort the plastic, then use it create evocative temporary arrangements within the natural setting . After disassembly, the items are reused for environmental art workshops. Left: Algas (Algae), 2013. Right: Brotes (Shoots), 2014.
Britt Freda, Vashon Audubon Bird Mural, 2020, Vashon Island, retaining wall outside the Vashon Center for the Arts. Colorful and imaginative (is that Klimt style?) renderings of local birds endangered by climate change were painted on this 10ft wall. Just beyond it is a restored meadow and wetland with aspen groves.
Seen as a circle of witnesses to environmental destruction, 23 pronghorn antelope skulls stand in a circle (for the 23 counties of WY), on weathered ranch fenceposts, secured to iron bases repurposed from the gas fields. "The fate of the pronghorn is our own, holding us accountable for what has been taken and for the beauty that remains. They tell the story of fracking in the American West, of a boom-and-bust economy and contaminated water…the costs of a fossil fuel economy.” (Williams) The sight of many pronghorn trapped and dying in the oil reservations of WY condemned human greed and cruelty. The installation was first set up in Jackson Hole as a “disturbance,” then was invited to St. John the Divine where "its dignity and stark beauty still haunts and inspires."
Olafur Eliasson and Robert Montgomery, Grace of the Sun, 2021, is a “light poem” powered by 1,000 Little Sun lamps, which were disassembled and reused after COP26. "Calling for a massive turn toward solar power, the installation is an extension of Eliasson’s Little Sun project" which he began in 2012 and which has provided solar power and light to over 3 million people in Africa.
Global Warming Hourglass, BLU, street art, Berlin, 2012. (Painted over and replaced by an advertisement in 2014) Arresting image of an hourglass with a melting iceberg and drowning city instead of sand in a "particularly potent metaphor for global warming."
Putting Green, Brooklyn NY, 2021. The 18 holes were designed by various community groups atop a former industrial site on the waterfront, using sustainable materials and methods. They provide both entertainment and education through messaging about climate change. Proceeds go to NY nonprofit climate change organizations.
Jenny Holzer, Hurt Earth , 2021. This work launched at Tate Modern in London, then was shown at various locations in Glasgow during COP26. Light projections of texts by over 40 activists draw attention to the climate crisis. She is known for work that uses text to "invite public debate and highlight issues."
Moths to a Flame, Plymouth (UK) Art and Energy Collective, 2021. “As butterfly doth thrum the storm, might the moth then summon dawn.” A mass-participation installation of 20,000 moths made of milk bottles, plus recorded audio messages sent from all over the world, created a beautiful display of hope and community at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens during COP26.
Joseph Rossano, Salmon School, 2018-21. Installation in the delegates'dining room at COP26 consists of a school of "mirrored salmon-like forms, hand-blown from molten glass by artists and makers from around the world, all of whom are concerned by the plight of wild salmon." Working with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, the initial forms were created and a method was developed to "easily replicate versions of a salmon-like shape using blown glass." First-hand video accounts from renowned scientists, artists, and indigenous people accompany the glass display.
Xavier Cortada, Underwater HOA, 2018, one of his many participatory eco-art projects in the Miami area. He distributed yard signs for residents and painted intersections with students, with numbers depicting how many feet of melted glacial water would submerge those locations. The background designs on the signs are from artwork he made after a trip to the Antarctic in 2006 as a NSF fellow, the Antarctic Ice Painting series.
Bob Partington, Melting Panthers,2020. He's The History Channel's "Thingamabob" host, an award-winning inventor and artist. This wax sculpture of a Florida panther and her cub, melting rapidly in the heat and revealing the lettering "MORE HEAT LESS WILDLIFE," draws attention to how rising temperatures are affecting treasured Florida wildlife. Part of a CLEO Institute climate crisis campaign.
Ruben Orozco, Bihar,2021. The title means "tomorrow" in Basque. Under cover of darkness, Orozco installed a hyperrealist fiberglass sculpture of a girl in the River Nervion in Bilbao, Spain. The girl's face is submerged during high tides, leading to questions about future rising water levels and sustainability.
Maya Lin, Ghost Forest, May 10-Nov. 14, 2021, Madison Square Park, NY
49 dead Atlantic white cedar trees, 40 ft tall, have been "planted" in a forest arrangement. The trees, from Pine Barren NJ, were cleared from that fragile ecosystem after succumbing to salt water degradation. A soundscape of native species who once lived on Manhattan Island accompanies the installation. (Lin is famous for the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in DC)
Banksy, From this moment despair ends and tactics begin, Marble Arch, London, 2019. This example of Banksy's guerrilla street art appeared overnight at the end of the Extinction Rebellion protests of April 2019. (The quote is from The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem of 1967). The girl is holding the Extinction Rebellion logo. An inspiring cry for action!
Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing, Ice Watch, 2014, multiple locations, this photo is Paris. Blocks of off-shore Greenland ice were transported to public spaces to communicate the urgency of climate change. Left to melt as spectators feel global warming firsthand. He said "It is so abstract, it's so far away, it's literally out of our body and it's in our brain and I wanted simply to change that narrative of the climate from our brain and emotionalize it into our bodies."