Current Exhibition

February 9, 2021
May 14, 2021

The Johnson Museum is open to Spring 2021 Cornell classes by appointment only. Contact Leah Sweet for more information or visit our page for University Faculty and Instructors. Information about curricular spaces at the Museum will be posted here throughout the semester.

Campus visitors are currently prohibited from entering any campus facility, including the Johnson Museum. More information for campus visitors can be found here.

In the wing gallery

Extraction, Consumption, and Resistance explores the implications of how humans have conceptualized nature in different times and places through art. This semester-long collaboration between the Johnson Museum and four Cornell courses in different disciplines draws upon works from across our permanent collection. In this gallery and in the classroom, we interrogate anthropocentric attitudes toward the living world, whether from the viewpoint of natural resource management, historical concepts of luxury, representations of crisis and disaster, or the intertwined dispossession of Native sovereignty and African enslavement in the Americas.

Many of the artworks on view engage with the idea of the natural world as passive and ripe for human manipulation, yet conceal the harsher social and material consequences of extracting and consuming natural resources. Pastoral vistas belie the effects of industrial development and the related expansion of tourism, while the plantation’s environmental impacts and commodification of goods and people remain hidden behind scenic backdrops for merriment and leisure. In contrast, more recent works acknowledge the damages engendered by a primarily utilitarian view of nature; some transform the ecological repercussions of unchecked consumerism into spectacle, and others present alternate worldviews in which humans share equal status and agency with plants, animals, and even postindustrial detritus.

Drawing together thematically related art across time, geography, and medium for comparative observation, this curricular gallery creates a space that encourages Cornell faculty and students from various schools to be enriched by mutual, cross-disciplinary inquiry.

This installation was curated by Leah Sweet, the Lynch Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs at the Johnson, in collaboration with:

Black and Indigenous Urban Ecologies (ARSC 6819/ AMST 6809/ARCH 6408/FGSS 6819/SHUM 6819), Tao Goffe, College of Arts and Sciences

Marketing Management for Services (HADM 2430) and Luxury Marketing (HADM 4435/6435), Kathryn Latour, SC Johnson College of Business

Global Water Sustainability (NTRES 1201), Xoco Shinbrot and Peter McIntyre, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Extraction, Consumption, and Resistance has been installed from the collection for:

After Nature: Art and Environmental Imagination (ARTH 3620)
Art Re-Planning Cities (CRP 3850/5850)
College Scholar Seminar (COLLS 2001)
Craft Culture—Craft, Art & Gender in Context (ANTHR 1101 FWS)
Creative Writing (ENGL 2810)
Ethics and the Environment (BSOC 2061/STS 2061/PHL 2960)
Fashion Draping (FSAD 2640)
Food, Ecology, and Agrarian Change (DSOC 7500)
Freud and the Invention of Psychoanalysis (COML 3781/6783 FGSS 3651, FREN 6561, GERST 3561, ROMS 3560, STS 3651)
Humanities Scholars Research Methods (SHUM 3750/ANTHR 3950/ASIAN 3375/NES 3750)
Images and Algorithms (ART 3699)
Museum and Park Interpretation (PLSCI 4825)
Nature and Culture (NTRES 2320)
Postcolonial Remix (ENGL 1168 FWS)
Science in Human Culture (SHUM 2750/STS 2750)
Short Stories (ENGL 1170)

In the lecture room

May 4–14
Installation for “After Nature: Art and Environmental Imagination” (ARTH 3620)

Department of Art

Scheduled student installations in the Department of Art will be accessible Tuesdays–Fridays between 10AM and 3PM. Please note these spaces have limited capacity and are open to Cornell faculty, staff, and students only per Cornell's current campus policy. If possible, please call ahead to confirm the timing of your visit.

Updated May 3, 2021