Environmental and Ecological Concerns

A number of artists in the exhibition address environmental concerns and ecological issues affecting land use.  Patrick Nagatani’s manipulated photographs from his Nuclear Enchantment series record and comment on sites in the southwest associated with atomic weapon tests and radioactive waste dumps.  Mel Chinn’s Revival Ramp is an ecological timeline, beginning with Leonard da Vinci’s A Copse of Trees (ca. 1500), scrolling through the industrial revolution and ending in three different possible outcomes: a wasteland, an unknown future under a black sun, or a revival of the environment.  Included in the timeline is his land reclamation project Revival Field.  Like Agnes Dene’s Wheatfield, another land reclamation project documented in the exhibition, Chinn’s Revival Field was based on reclaiming the toxic site of a landfill, which he planted with “hyperaccumulator” plants to extract heavy metals from the contaminated soil.


Image: Mel Chin, American, born 1951. Revival Ramp, 1996. Hard‑ground etching, soft‑ground etching, engraving, photo etching and lithograph on cream‑colored Asian paper. Purchased with the gift of the Fred Bergfors and Margaret Sandberg Foundation. SC 2002:18