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Sustainability and visual arts - Essay Example

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This research aims to evaluate and present relation of sustainability and visual arts. The significance of Steinman's work is the interactive nature of the creative process, as people from the community were involved in every aspect of the project…
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Sustainability and visual arts
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Sustainability and visual arts

Download file to see previous pages... The paper tells that nature has had a long history of influencing art, one that has extended from the masters bringing their palettes into their gardens to the contemporary earthworks of Andy Goldsworthy and others. However, in order for art to continue to be influenced by nature there must be nature to be influenced by. In a society where the population and urban landscapes are every burgeoning, Susan Leibovitz Steinman creates new landscapes out of urban devastation to promote sustainability and environmental education. Unlike other artist, who work in sites that can be difficult for the average viewer to experience firsthand, Steinman works in the heart of cities. In Mandela Artscape, Steinman literally worked in the middle of the street, at the crossroads of industry and ecology. This project involved regrouping West Oakland community members to reclaim a part of their town that had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1989, by turning the site into a creative, interactive, and environmentally friendly work of art. Steinman is not the first to transform the horrors ofa natural disaster into a reclamation project. In 1964, the "Great Good Friday Earthquake," the second largest recorded earthquake at that time with a magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter Scale, struck Anchorage, Alaska. One-hundred-and-thirty-one people perished, towns were buried, and tsunamis tore across the area. The only possible positive outcome of such a terrible natural catastrophe is the proactive and innovative reaction of the survivors. (US Geological Survey, 2004). The Anchorage Earthquake Park (figure 2) is the result of one particular reaction. The goal of this park was to reclaim a destroyed area and to educate people about the earthquake. There are bike paths, cross-country ski trails, picnic tables, and most importantly, information panels. In 1973, Smithson congratulated the people who reclaimed the Anchorage site through the creation of a park, stating that this action was "an interesting way of dealing with the unexpected, and incorporating that into the community"(Smithson in Holt 1979: 192). Figure 2: The Anchorage Earthquake Park (Source: http://www.igougo.com/journal-j34852-Anchorage-The_Seward_Highway_Americas_Most_Scenic_Byway.html) The significance of Steinman's work, and that which distinguishes Mandela Artscape from the Anchorage Earthquake Park, is the interactive nature of the creative process, as people from the community were involved in every aspect of the project. It is also this element of engagement with the public that differentiates Steinman's work from others. Promoting Sustainability Steinman is critical of Western capitalist society. She is involved in many groups that have emerged as a response to the problem that the consumerist ideology presents. The Women Environmental Artists Directory (WEAD), for example, is an artist-produced, non-profit, national and international organization that Steinman and Jo Hanson founded in 1996. The WEAD lists over two hundred artists, all of whom adopt an activist approach to raising environmental awareness through art. Themes involve site, community and habitat specificity, an educational agenda, public participation, and works that are often temporary - many ideas that overlap with the new genre public art ideology (Hanson and Steinman, 2012). Steinman is also involved with a group called "eco art network" Similarly, the mandate of this group is to create ecological works of art that promote sustainability and environmental education (Ecoartnetwork.org, 2012). Consumerism is a basic concern for artists involved in environmental art, sometimes referred to as "ecoart." As stated by artist Ruth Wallen, "much ecoart is motivated by a recognition that current patterns ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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