Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art + Environment Conference

Following a wonderful opening and follow up evening of conversations at BoxoFFICE, Megan Evans and I headed out to Reno for the Art + Environment Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art.

The conference is a gathering of artists, curators, educators and more, all bound by their interest in art that relates to natural, built or virtual environments. The conference was literally mind blowing. Presenters, ranging from Jorge Pardo to Leo Villareal to the the Harrisons and Patricia Johanson, shared their work and inspirations in a powerful and intimate manner.

One presentation by photographer Chris Jordan captured my sensibilities as he called for change within each individual such that we can imagine change in the broader direction of society and its effect on the environment. Edward Burtynsky's remarkable images captured the imagination and he spoke of the privileged position he has gained that allows him access to the sites he documents for us. Pardo shared a wonderful overview of his work and his unique perspective on how design, architecture and art blend in his outlook. A marvelous contingent from Australia, including painter Mandy Martin, reminded me how far we are sometimes from working with the land and the original inhabitants of the land when seeking to communicate something essential and meaningful about place or the environment.

Bruce Sterling gave a riotous and oddly poignant summation reassuring us that the rising generation will be taking over in ways we don't relate to and that our structures, which have brought the state of the world and the environment to its current position, will be swept aside and the new will create the next future.

There was much to be learned and discussed amongst he participants themselves who were a dynamic group from across the country with a healthy does of Australians and other international types. Artists with projects as diverse as rebuilding Eden in Southern Iraq to remaining the Amazon, creating residencies in urban San Francisco or on a private land trust near Philadelphia.

Several exhibitions were mounted including the wonderful Altered Landscapes survey of photography dealing with our interaction with the environment.

Huge kudos to David Walker, Anne Wolf, Bill Fox, Colin Robertson and their team for creating a dynamic, professional, contemporary and inspiring home for furthering our efforts.

UPDATE: After attending the conference, I was in LA for the tail part of Art Platform when I got a call about a property in Joshua Tree. Riding the inspiration of the conference and the community it creates, I hightailed it out to the desert and went into action. BoxoHOUSE is now up and running and has hosted the first residency project - see details here: Gosia Wlodarczak: Frost Drawing for Joshua Tree

Humanbeeing - a conversation

On Tuesday September 27, BoxoFFICE hosted a dynamic dialogue between Megan Evans and Ron Breland, beekeeper/philosopher. A diverse audience of collectors, artists, cultural programmers and environmentalists joined us for the evening. 


Ron installed one of his decahedron hives and gave a compelling talk involving bees, art and new physics that posited how bees allow us to see beyond our usual preconceptions and glimpse the unity of the super organism of which we are all part. 


Megan put her practice and the exhibition into this context of accessing our interconnectedness and encouraged us to see generosity and giving as an access point to understanding our place in the universe and achieving reconciliation with each other and the greater environment that surrounds us. 


A lively Q followed. The talk was broadcast by Skype to Boston and a video can be seen here.