In 1969 the legendary Earth Art exhibition took place at Cornell University. A new kind of exhibition, curated by Willoughby Sharp, it presented site-specific installations by nine international artists. These installations, scattered around the Cornell campus and the surrounding Ithaca landscape, responded in part to consumerism, mass media, and the insularity of art in the late 1960s, but were also shown in the context of a developing international environmental movement. It is at this intersection—where art meets life—that the influence of the 1960s earth artists has perhaps had the most significant impact on a current generation of artists working on issues related to the environment and sustainability.
Reaching across disciplines, artists are helping to raise awareness for protecting the world’s natural resources. By making the invisible visible artists can challenge existing perceptions of reality. With metaphor, humor, and direct action, artists are able to represent ideas and reveal patterns often hidden beneath the surface by merging rational observation with beauty, creativity, and inspiration.
Comprising separate installations and exhibitions that address issues related to the representation of landscape, water supply, food justice, recycling, fair distribution of natural resources, and the nature/culture divide, beyond earth art • contemporary artists and the environment will be on view in all of the Johnson Museum’s temporary exhibition galleries and lobbies, as well as outside the Museum on the façade and grounds. The work included operates in the gap between the objectivity of scientific data, and the subjectivity of creative expression signaling the interconnectedness of the themes addressed in this Museum-wide project.
Participating artists will include Ansel Adams, Michael Ashkin, Brandon Ballengée, Anna Betbeze, Janet Biggs, Matthew Brandt, Troy Brauntuch, Edward Burtynsky, Adam Cvijanovic, Blane De St. Croix, Mark Dion, Chris Doyle, Jack Elliot, Rose-Lynne Fisher, Noriko Furunishi, Dionisio González, Christian Houge, Yun-Fei Ji, Chris Jordan, David LaChapelle, Maya Lin, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Maria Park, Eliot Porter, Maggie Puckett, Lucy Raven, Reynold Reynolds, Alexis Rockman, Allan Sekula, Superflex, Alison Elizabeth Taylor, Marion Wilson, and Yang Yi.
The exhibition Food-Water-Life/Lucy+Jorge Orta, curated by c2 | curatorsquared and organized by the Tufts University Art Gallery, will also be on view as part of the beyond earth art project.
Materials related to the 1969 Earth Art exhibition will also be presented, alongside works from the permanent collection by some of the Earth Art artists, including Dennis Oppenheim and Robert Smithson, as well as others who were working in a similar mode in the 1970s and ’80s, including Agnes Denes, Patricia Johanson, Ana Mendieta, and Michelle Stuart.
beyond earth art • contemporary artists and the environment is curated by Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art & photography at the Johnson Museum.