Chicago's Columbia College Hosts Challenging Environmental Art Show

Poster for Columbia eco-art show image

Image: A+D Gallery Catalogue, Aylin Kayser & Cristian Metzner, Ikarus, 2007

Challenging visions of sustainability, or rather the lack of it, are currently on show at the A+D Gallery at Columbia College in Chicago. Part environmental art exhibition, part cutting edge design show, works include photos by Edward Burtynsky contrasting with melting wax lamps (pictured above) by young German designers. The multimedia approach taken by the show's curators broadens the debate about consumption patterns and industrial production and pollution. Click over for more images...Criteria for sustainability
The show is called Criteria and is curated by Jimena Acosta and Emiliano Godoy, two young Mexicans who are at the cutting edge of art and design. Godoy's work has been particularly well represented here on TreeHugger, but the show is not just about aesthetically pleasing eco-design, in the catalogue Acosta and Godoy are keen to emphasise the exhibition's wider ambitions:

"This exhibition is about sustainability. It is not about green design, ecology or environmentalism. It’s about humanity and its incapability to sustain its habits and culture for future generations. To be precise, it is about the inability to foresee the long-term consequences of industrial development. of non-renewable resources to keep the country afloat."

Provocative work
It's a brave and quite abstract show dealing high concepts such as the Ikarus lamp (pictured above) that is made from wax and gradually melts over time until it collapses. There are no products offering solutions, but the work will definitely provoke lots of questions. Acosta and Godoy go on to say they hope the show will push people out of their comfort zones.

Edward Burtynsky Oxford Tire Pile photo

Image: A+D Gallery Catalogue, Edward Burtynsky, Oxford Tire Pile No. 5, Westley, California, 1999

They are "aiming at constructing an argument on the need to transform current production and consumption patterns into a viable cycle of creating well-being. the main contradiction between the views portrayed in the exhibition and our preconceived notions of progress and wealth could be described as the illusion of constant growth, or the wishful thought that progress is unidirectional, and always moving upwards."

International viewpoints
We're impressed by the international selection of pieces from South America, North America and Europe and we're encouraged to see the art + design department of Columbia College pushing forward the idea artists and designers can have an important role to play in the fight against climate change. We hope the current students, the designers of the future, will be inspired.

For those of you who can't make it to Chicago the exhibition catalogue is available to download from the A+D gallery website. For those of you who can, there will be a public reception at the gallery on January 29th with a talk by exhibition curator and eco-designer Emiliano Godoy. The show runs from Jan 15th to Feb 28th 2009.

A+D Gallery
Jimena Acosta
Emiliano Godoy
More on Environmental Art + Design Exhibitions
Dispatches from Designboost: The Sustainable Design Exhibition
Recycled Oil Drum Art Exhibition Open Today for SEED (Smart Environmental Efforts in DUMBO)
Amazingness - An Exhibition About Urban Nature
1% Water and Our Future: Art + Design Exhibition Gets Creative With H2O
GROW: Solar/Piezoelectric Concept Comes to MoMA

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