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ASU Art Museum explores sustainability definitions in Fall exhibitions

Artist Carrie Marill's "Fucking Liberal Life"
Artist Carrie Marill’s “Fucking Liberal Life”



In 1987, the United Nations’ Bruntland Commission defined the concept of sustainable development as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…” Is this an accurate definition? Certainly. Does it capture the imagination, and prod people to action? Probably not…

This Fall, Arizona State University’s Art Museum is going to take another, and very different, stab at formulating a definition for sustainability. A series of projects gathered under the title Defining Sustainability will not only display artistic renderings of the concept (or specific examples of it, such as greener transportation or recycled shade structures), but also bring together “artists and designers, faculty and students [to] engage the greater Phoenix community in their creative processes and in conversations about sustainability.” The projects included in the series:

  • Native Confluence: Sustaining Cultures — Native American artists, led by Nora Naranjo Morse, will collaborate on a project using organic materials “to create an installation that will extend beyond the walls of the building.”
  • Political Ply — “… recycled political posters will be used to create shade structures on the museum’s west side sculpture courts.”
  • Canalscape for Metro Phoenix — this project will involve the creation of “an environment in the museum’s entryway to view project ideas and information about the history of Phoenix’s canals and future prospects.”

Shade Structures by architect Jason Griffiths
Shade Structures by architect Jason Griffiths



Each project will (obviously) involve more than art works on display: all three involve re-envisioning the museum and surrounding space itself, and connections to the larger community. In short, artists and curators will interrogate the traditional environment for art itself as a means of spurring discussions on the relationships between cutural, natural, and built environments.

Designing Sustainability will open on September 19, and run through January 30.

via FOX Business

Image credits: ASU News