Human/Nature: Artists Respond To A Changing Planet

 

Rigo 23, Sapukay—Cry for Help (detail), 2008 Woven taquara, banana trunk fibers, feathers, wire, fishing line, caxeta.  Assembled in Cananéia, Brazil, with members of the local Quilombola, Guarani, and Caiçara communities.  Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco.

Rigo 23, Sapukay—Cry for Help (detail), 2008. Woven taquara, banana trunk fibers, feathers, wire, fishing line, caxeta. Assembled in Cananéia, Brazil, with members of the local Quilombola, Guarani, and Caiçara communities. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco.

If San Diego’s sunny disposition isn’t enough reason to migrate there this winter, then the city’s Human/Nature: Artists Respond To A Changing Planet  exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art is certainly a special, added draw. 

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Juggernaut, 2008.  Super 16mm film digitized to HD video projection, 5:44 video loop.  Courtesy of the artist and Max Prototech, New York

Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Juggernaut, 2008. Super 16mm film digitized to HD video projection, 5:44 video loop. Courtesy of the artist and Max Prototech, New York

The show gathers the work of eight international artists, each commissioned to respond to one of eight UNESCO World Heritage Natural Sites around the globe.  The artists (Rigo 23, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Diana Thater, Ann Hamilton, Mark Dion, Xu Bing, Marcos Ramírez ERRE, and Dario Robleto) take their inspiration from destinations as far afield as the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador), Komodo National Park (Indonesia), and Mount Kenya National Park (Kenya) to produce an eclectic array of artworks dedicated to habitats and human societies in flux.  Each has highlighted the delicate relationship between precarious natural treasures and their human populations.

Dario Robleto, Some Longings Survive Death, 2008.  Glacially released 50,000-year old woolly mammoth tusks, 19th-century braided-hair flowers of various lovers intertwined with glacially released woolly mammoth hair, carved ivory and bone, bocote, colored paper, silk, ribbon, typset 57 x 53 x 8 inches.  Courtesy of the artist and D'amelio Terras, New York; Inman Gallery, Houston; Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris; ACME, Los Angeles

Dario Robleto, Some Longings Survive Death, 2008. Glacially released 50,000-year old woolly mammoth tusks, 19th-century braided-hair flowers of various lovers intertwined with glacially released woolly mammoth hair, carved ivory and bone, bocote, colored paper, silk, ribbon, typset 57 x 53 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist and D'amelio Terras, New York; Inman Gallery, Houston; Galerie Praz-Delavallade, Paris; ACME, Los Angeles.

The far-ranging reflections of Human/Nature come together as evocations of the theme of preservation.  All of the artists have considered how we remember, that is to say, essentially how it is that we conserve.  In contemplating preservation, the artists have gathered various kinds of remnants that document life experiences – including the bones and hair of extinct animal species and the audible and imagined sounds of animals, glaciers, and struggling humans.  They have also created storehouses that preserve these memories – among them, display cases, glass beakers, house windows, and even a mobile library.

Mark Dion, Mobile Ranger Library—Komodo National Park, 2008.  Mixed Media, 96 x 84 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches.  Fabricated by William Feeney.  Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

Mark Dion, Mobile Ranger Library—Komodo National Park, 2008. Mixed Media, 96 x 84 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches. Fabricated by William Feeney. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

Probing the fragile balance between sustaining people and natural environments, the exhibition suggests the possibility of a unified, symbiotic, and sustainable relationship between “Human” and “Nature”.  Both the planet and a human can either sing in harmony or cry out.

Ann Hamilton, Galápagos Chorus, 2008.  DVD projection, amplified cone gloves with pre-recorded animal sounds, iPods, artist's books with texts by 8th-grade students from El Colegio Nacional Galápagos.  Courtesy of the artist.

Ann Hamilton, Galápagos Chorus, 2008. DVD projection, amplified cone gloves with pre-recorded animal sounds, iPods, artist's books with texts by 8th-grade students from El Colegio Nacional Galápagos. Courtesy of the artist.

The exhibition is on view at MCASD until February 1, 2009 and was organized by the museum in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), and the conservation organization Rare.

 

All photographs by Pablo Mason

About Alicia Lubowski-Jahn

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  1. Pingback: ECONOMICS 101: Why Obama’s Stimulus Will Make the Economy Worse and How We May Lose Our Liberty — But As For Me

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