Top 5 Environmental Artists Shaking Up the Art World

3. Agnes Denes: Harvesting Change Through Art

Wheatfield: A Confrontation (1982) by Agnes Denes, downtown Manhattan via Grounding Work

One of the grandmothers of the early environmental art movement and Conceptual art, Denes’ wide range of interests surface in her work as commentaries on "human values and misplaced priorities,"challenging our views of natural cycles and stewardship. One of her most famous works, Wheatfield--A Confrontation (1982) involved the planting of wheat in a vacant two-acre lot in downtown Manhattan. The harvest of the artwork yielded 1,000 pounds of wheat, which was then brought on a tour of 28 cities worldwide as part of the "The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger" and eventually symbolically planted around the globe.

4. Chris Jordan: Photography and Environmental Action

Plastic Bottles (2007) via Chris Jordan: depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes and closeup (below)

The Seattle-based lawyer-turned-artist works with the mundane details of American consumer culture--a plastic cup, a paper bag--and couples them with the shocking but oftentimes incomprehensible statistics and scale of excess consumption. Like Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky, Chris Jordan's meticulous works of combining photography and digital tools serve as a visual doorway into what he calls a "slow-motion apocalypse" inflicted on the planet by the unbridled consumerism of a disposable society. Each of his pieces compels the second thought that many usually never give. Best of all, each silently demonstrates that small acts, both negative and positive, add up to something bigger.

5. Red Earth Environmental Art Group: Collectivity and Creativity in Enviro-art

Trace (2005) via Red Earth Environmental Art Group

As a reminder that "art" can be a matter of collective participation, our last artist is not an individual at all, but an interdisciplinary collective of artists working with other specialists--geologists, architects, farmers, archaeologists, historians, ecologists, astronomers, land managers, animals and other communities--to create experimental connections and “physical speculations” between art, science, and nature. Coined Red Earth, this group is behind Geograph (2005), a work that began with Trace. Trace, according to Red Earth, is a

two hundred metre long ‘erosion line’ across the beach and continued with the temporary sculpture installation Vanishing Point, sited on the Seven Sisters headland. The project ended in a journey from sculpture site to sea involving public participation, performance and a closing ritual on the beach at dusk.(Red Earth)

Co-directed by British artists Caitlin Easterby and Simon Pascoe, the collective presents installations and ritualized performances which harness and invoke a wild quality and poetic grandeur.

More Great Environmental Art and Artists
Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing World
Gyongy Laky: Environmental Artist
The Art of Activism: Painting The Faces of Social & Climate Change
The TH Interview: Ed Burtynsky and "Manufactured Landscapes"
Artists-Scientists Join Forces in Arctic Climate Expedition
Lara Donatoni Matana’s Art from Wood Leftovers
The Art Gallery of Renewable Energy
Artists Meet Architecture to Create Psycho Buildings
Environmental Artists Networking
Learned Evolution, a Networking Site for Eco-minded Artists and Et Al.
Endangered Environmental Art
Land Art at Risk
Eco-Friendly Art or Not?
Art or Oil: Drilling Near Utah's Famous "Spiral Jetty" Earthwork

Tags: Activism | Artists | Arts | Global Climate Change

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