Earth Now: American Landscape Photographers and the Environment
New Mexico Museum of Art
April 8 through August 28, 2011
Earth Now: American Landscape Photographers and the Environment offers both a survey and a contemporary view of how artists working in photography have addressed our relationship to the environment, one of the greatest challenges facing us since at least the mid-twentieth century. Using beauty, humor, and horror to engage attention, these photographers provoke questions about the legacy of industry, construction, consumption, and waste disposal while pointing toward new directions such as local farming, new energy source technologies, green roofs, and a renewed connection with the landscapes we inhabit.
Earth Now opens at the New Mexico Museum of Art on April 8, 2011 and will be on view through August 28, 2011. The exhibition opens with suites of images by landscape photographers Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter. As successful artists they also participated in the use of their photographs to promote the establishment and preservation of some of the country’s wilderness areas.
Preceding the April 8, 2011 opening of the Earth Now exhibition in the museum will be an online prologue in fall 2010. The Earth Now site will be designed to invite visitors to join a lively conversation with the twelve contemporary photographers featured in the online exhibition. Other artists, invited commentators, prominent environmental and conservation activists, and the curator will also be contributing, and video podcast interviews will be on the site. Artist interviews, music, reading lists, e-links, and more will also be found on the Earth Now site. The online exhibition – a living ecosystem itself – will remain active through August 28, 2011 (and beyond) as new material from ongoing Earth Now public programming is recorded and added.
The example set by Adams and Porter provoked a range of strong responses by younger landscape photographers, especially in the context of a growing environmental movement beginning in the 1970s. Some followed a similar path to Adams and Porter while others forged a new more activist direction, among them Robert Adams, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Mark Klett, and Richard Misrach. Having set the stage with these important masters, Earth Now continues with a large section of new work from the beginning of the twenty-first century. This selection of photographs by approximately twenty American artists shows how a range of contemporary landscape photographers are responding now to some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, such as energy consumption, changing agricultural practices, toxic waste, and the human relationship to animals, and to the land. While many of these artists are working in New Mexico and the western United States – including Michael Berman, Joann Brennan, Dornith Doherty, Chris Enos, Greg Mac Gregor, Carlan Tapp, Victor Masayesva, and Sharon Stewart – others represent cities ranging from Seattle to New York and San Francisco to Atlanta. A highlight of the show will be images from brand-new bodies of work by Subhankar Banerjee, Daniel Handal, Brad Temkin, and Phil Underwood.
Commenting on the online preview and upcoming exhibition, New Mexico Museum of Art Curator of Photography Katherine Ware said, “I am interested in exploring how artists and their work function in relation to current events, in helping us make sense of the world around us, reinforcing humanistic values, and provoking questions rather than offering answers. These images require the participation of viewers who are engaged by them and continue the conversation.”
Visitors to the Earth Now online exhibition are invited to view the site www.explore.org, the website of Explore, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation led by Annenberg Foundation Vice President and Director, Charles Annenberg Weingarten. The Annenberg Foundation is pleased to note that the educational, tax-exempt purposes of Explore align closely with those of the Earth Now online exhibition.
Artists included in the Earth Now online exhibition
- Ansel Adams – Images of Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Park in California; Alaska
- Eliot Porter — Landscapes made on the east coast and at Glen Canyon
- Subhankar Banerjee – Where I Live, I Hope to Know, from a study of his neighborhood outside Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Bremner Benedict – Selections from Gridlines, a series on the power towers that often dominate the American landscape
- Joann Brennan – A trio of images from her extended series Imagining Eden about scientists who are working on how people and animals can better co-exist
- Dornith Doherty – Two large-scale pieces from Archiving Eden, a series of work made with x-rays at master seed banks
- Daniel Handal – Images from his new series From Forest to Field, about young farmers in New York’s Hudson Valley region
- Beth Lilly – Monsters, a view of the resilience and adaptability of urban trees
- Brook Reynolds – Her recent series Light, Sweet Crude examines the American appetite for oil
- Sharon Stewart – Excerpts from the long-term series Agua es Vida: A Village Life Portrait on community life and acequia-based agriculture in El Cerrito, New Mexico
- Carlan Tapp – Part of his body of work Question of Power, about the human costs of coal use in the United States, taken at the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region
- Brad Temkin – Initial work from a new series on greenscaping, Rooftop, showing gardens thriving atop Chicago’s civic buildings
Artists included in the gallery exhibition
- Ansel Adams
- Robert Adams
- Subhankar Banerjee
- Bremner Benedict
- Michael P. Berman
- Joann Brennan
- Suzette Bross
- Sarah Charlesworth
- Christine Chin
- Dornith Doherty
- Chris Enos
- Terry Evans
- Daniel Handal
- Robert Glenn Ketchum
- Mark Klett
- Beth Lilly
- Greg Mac Gregor
- Victor Masayesva Jr.
- Brad Moore
- Matthew Moore
- Richard Misrach
- David Maisel
- Patrick Nagatani
- Bill Owens
- Eliot Porter
- Brook Reynolds
- Laurel Schultz
- Christina Seely
- Sharon Stewart
- Carlan Tapp
- Brad Temkin
- Robert Toedter
- Sonja Thomsen
- Phil Underwood
The New Mexico Museum of Art was founded in 1917 as the Art Gallery of the Museum of New Mexico. Housed in a spectacular Pueblo Revival building designed by I. H. and William M. Rapp, it was based on their New Mexico building at the Panama-California Exposition (1915). The museum’s architecture inaugurated what has come to be known as “Santa Fe Style.” For nearly 100 years, the Museum has celebrated the diversity of the visual arts and the legacy of New Mexico as a cultural crossroads by collecting and exhibiting work by leading artists from New Mexico and elsewhere. This tradition continues today with a wide-array of exhibitions with work from the world’s leading artists. The New Mexico Museum of Art brings the art of New Mexico to the world and the art of the world to New Mexico.