"Re-considering materialism and artistic agency in the age of the Anthropocene" is a symposium organized in conjunction with Atsunobu Kohira's exhibition that combines a series of presentations across disciplines, exploring the intersection of art and ecology as well as new perspectives on materialism in our current geological era marked by human impact.
The symposium will include the artist, Atsunobu Kohira; art critic Ben Davis; art critic and writer John K. Grande; anthropologist of art Eugenia Kisin (NYU Faculty); artist Dylan Gauthier and Willis Elkins from the Newtown Creek Alliance.
The Anthropocene places human as the major geological force within nature, affecting Earth's systems at an unparalleled rate. Questions raised during the symposium will include but will not be limited to the following: Can art and culture bring behavioral change towards the environment? Is there an agency outside of human control? Can sustainability become an artistic practice and what are the possibilities of art in regards to this ecological crisis? Can we transform our industrial landscapes into a sustainable and environmental-friendly ones?
Each panelist will present their work and reflections around the subject. A group discussion open to the public will follow.
Atsunobu Kohira (b. 1979. Hiroshima, Japan) completed his BFA at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts ( 2006) and his MFA at Le Fresnoy (2010).
His solo exhibitions include “Carbon Variation N°1”, Yumiko Chiba Associates, Tokyo, Japan (2017); “Coalscape Ing of Coal” at Festival KG+, Kyoto, Japan (2017); “Outretemps”, Galerie Maubert, Paris, France (2016), “Carbon Lab”, at YIA Art Fair, Paris, France (20016); “Vanitas”, at Yumiko Chiba Associates, Tokyo, Japan (2015); “Pérennité passagère: at EAC Les Roches, France (2014); “Instrument pour Saint- Louis” at the Cristal Museum of Saint-Louis, France (2012)l; “Ku” at Galerie G, Hiroshima, Japan (2008); among others.
His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Musée Picasso (Paris, France), Grand Palais (Paris, France), Le Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France), Hermès Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan), La Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris, France), la Gare Saint-Sauveur (Lille, France), Paris Photo (France).
Kohira has participated in residencies at the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès, St-Louis (2012); ARTU DRAC, Nord-Pas-de-Calais (2015); FRAC Franche-Comté, Besançon (2010), Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris, France (2008 and 2010). He was a nominee for Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, Japan ( 2011-2012)
Title: Coalscapes and Carbon Spirits
Eugenia Kisin is assistant professor of art and society at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. An anthropologist of art, she teaches classes on art and agency in the Anthropocene with a focus on contemporary Indigenous art in North America. Her current book project, Aesthetics of Repair, considers how Indigenous artists extend ancestral protocols for bringing about just relations between persons, things, and territories in the extractive economies of the Pacific Northwest.
Title: Two Versions of an Endgame
Ben Davis is an art critic living and working in New York City. He is the author of 9.5 Theses on Art and Class (Haymarket, 2013). He is currently National Art Critic for artnet News, and was formerly executive editor of Artinfo.com and an editor of The Elements of Architecture, the catalogue of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. His writings have appeared in Adbusters, The Brooklyn Rail, e-Flux Journal, Frieze, New York, The New York Times, Slate.com, The Village Voice, and many other venues.
John K. Grande
Art critic and Writer
Title: Connective Aesthetics in an Age of Global Warming
A leading figure in art and ecology, John K. Grande is author of a range of books that include Art & Environment (Friendly Chameleon, Toronto, 1992) Balance: Art and Nature (Black Rose Books, 1994), Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists (Black Rose Books, 1998), Art Nature Dialogues (SUNY Press, New York 2003) and Dialogues in Diversity; Art from Marginal to Mainstream (Pari, Italy 2007). Art in Nature (Korean edition) won the Public Book Prize from the Ministry of Culture, South Korea in 2012. Grande has published countless catalogue essays on artists in Ireland, Belgium, India, Hungary, Czech Republic, Canada, UK, Spain, Poland, Japan, Norway and the United States. Grande has curated Earth Art shows worldwide at the Royal Botanical Gardens and Van Dusen Gardens in Canada, the Pori Art Museum, Finland (2011), Meran, Tyrol, Italy (2014), and the Pan Am Games in Toronto and many other venues. He curated Small Gestures at the Mucsarnok / Kunsthalle, Budapest, Hungary in 2016. John K. Grande’s writings have been published extensively in Artforum, Vice Versa, British Journal of Photography, Public Art Review, Ciel Variable, LensCulture, On Paper, Arte.Es, Artichoke, Border Crossings, Public Art Review and Landscape Architecture. Recent books include Nils-Udo; Sur l'Eau (Actes Sud, France, 2015), Nadalian (Paradise Art Center, Persian Gulf, Iran, 2017), Bob Verschueren; Ecos de la Memoria ( Valencia, Spain, 2016), In) Formation – Alice Teichert Recent Paintings (Hirmer Verlag, Germany, 2017) and Art, Space, Ecology; Two Views Twenty Interviews (Black Rose/ U. of Chicago, 2018).
Title: What Wilderness: Newtown Creek as Afterimage
Dylan Gauthier is a Brooklyn-based artist and curator who works through a research-based and collaborative practice centered on experiences of urban ecology, architecture, landscape, and social change. Gauthier is a founder of the boat-building and publishing collective Mare Liberum (www.thefreeseas.org) and of the Sunview Luncheonette (www.thesunview.org), a co-op for art, politics, and communalism in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. His individual and collective projects have been exhibited at the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne (Paris), Parrish Art Museum, CCVA at Harvard University (Cambridge), the 2016 Biennial de Paris (Beirut), (New York:) the Center for Architecture, The International Studio and Curatorial Program, EFA Project Space, the Chimney, and other venues in the US and abroad. His writings about art and public space have been published by Contemporary Art Stavanger, Parrish Art Museum, Urban Omnibus, Art in Odd Places, and Routledge/Public Art Dialogue, among others. In 2015 he was the NEA-supported Ecological Artist-in-Residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP); in 2016 he was a Socrates Sculpture Park Emerging Artist Fellow (NY), and in 2017/18 he was the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at the Brandywine River Conservancy and Museum of Art, where his immersive video and sound installation highwatermarks was on view from October 2017 to January 2018. He co-curated (with Kendra Sullivan) the exhibition Resistance After Nature at Haverford College in spring of 2017. Gauthier received his MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, CUNY (‘12), and teaches courses on emerging media and expanded cinema in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, and ecological design in the School of Design Studies at Parsons/The New School.
Newtown Creek Alliance - Non Profit Manager
Title: Newtown Creek: Historic Pollution and Ecological Health in an Industrial Waterway
Willis Elkins is the Program Manager of the Newtown Creek Alliance, a non-profit organization working to restore, reveal and revitalize Newtown Creek. Willis is co-chair of the Newtown Creek Superfund Community Advisory Group (CAG), chair of Brooklyn's Community Board 1 Environmental Committee and a founding member of the North Brooklyn Boat Club.