Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ecotopia at the International Center of Photography


One of the reasons for my extended stay in New York is to see the art shows in town. On the top of my list was the International Center of Photography. And since I'm now a member at the Griffin Museum in Winchester, I get free admission. The current show at the ICP is a group show called Ecotopia on view through January 7, 2007. The biggest attraction for me to see this show was Catherine Chalmers, a photographer whose interest is primarily of ecology. I was introduced to her work by Ken, who gave me a copy of her book Food Chain. As I was doing some digging online just now, I found out that Chalmers' work can be seen at the current DeCordova exhibition Going Ape: Confronting Animals in Contemporary Art, on view until January 7th as well.

Ecotopia was one of the best photography shows I've seen. It showcases the work of 40 photographers around the theme of nature and our interactions with nature. Certainly there were subthemes that I expected -- the destructions of nature by humans. But there are also more subtle and neutral subthemes about the natural order of things in nature. Catherine Chalmers' exhibition piece turned out to be a short film rather than still photography. The film depicts a cockroach's emergence from a body of water, his journey through the woods, and eventually his demise by becoming prey to a frog.

I was also excited to find out that among the 40 participating in the show was Wang Qingsong. His website always seems to be too busy to load, and so I suspect he's doing very well. In an issue of Aperture Magazinen this year I had first seen Wang's work Come, Come, three staged images depicting waves of political protestors and the irony that they leave behind a mess of abandoned banners and other garbage--all this angry concern about China's polical future while neglecting the environment. Wang's work is full of irony and challenges herd mentality. He's one of the most refreshing contemporary Chinese artists who made his name known internationally. Most Chinese artists with international exhibits have a tendency to reinforce western stereotypes about China, while much of Wang's work is about Chinese identity and integrity in the face of globalization and commercialism.

1 comment:

TheresNoTylerDurden said...

Love the blog.

Hoping to see JUMP and hear more anecdotes from your photo show travels and adventures

best and Happy New Year Lisa!