Commentary
5:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

What Can Contemporary Art Tell Us About Our Environment?

Top:Charles Lee, 'Dissipative System', 2010. Diamond ink jet print, 27 x 30 in. Bottom: Andrea Ackerman, 'Rose Breathing', 2003. 3D Computer animation, stereo sound, projector, 34-second continuous loop, dimensions variable. San Jose Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds contributed by the Museum’s Collection Committee.
Credit Courtesy of Wichita Art Musuem, Bios Design Collective and the Art Works for Change traveling exhibition

On November 8th and 9th, the Ulrich Museum and the Wichita Art Museum team up for a joint symposium called Nature’s Impact, Art’s Force. While the title is a little awkward, the collective symposium appears intriguing, as it will tackle issues of nature, ecology and technology through the lens of contemporary art.

I’ve already talked about each museum’s respective fall exhibition-- Nature’s Toolbox at the Ulrich and Vital Signs at the Wichita Art Museum. They were clearly designed in preparation for this event and serve as the critical context for the symposium.

Joining the conversation are several notable speakers: On Friday, California artist Isabella Kirkland, whose ecological paintings of flora and fauna can be viewed in Nature’s Toolbox; and, that evening, the founder of The Land Institute, Wes Jackson, will deliver the keynote address.

At the Wichita Art Museum on Saturday, Jodi Throckmorton will begin the day by discussing her curatorial work for Vital Signs, setting the stage for artist and Stanford University professor Gail Wight, who has two works on view in the show. The day will conclude with a talk by John Weber, the founding director of the Institute of Arts and Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

With this lineup of incredible speakers, Nature’s Impact, Art’s Force hopes to provide Wichita with a vibrant and intellectually engaging dialogue concerning the important environmental issues of our day.