ecoartspace NYC 2010 benefit "What Matters Most"

ecoartspace invites you to participate in our first NYC benefit exhibition titled What Matters Most? The show and benefit party will be hosted by Exit Art in NYC from April 15 – 28th, 2010.

What Matters Most? began with responses to this question posted on Monday February 15th on Andrew Revkin’s NY Times blog, Dot Earth by leading environmental experts, writers and readers and is still active in the archive (click on Dot Earth above). Participating artists have the option of creating an original artwork related to the blog entry of their choice or donating an existing work.

All proceeds from this fundraiser will support ecoartspace activities and programs. ecoartspace has been operating as a bicoastal nonprofit platform for artists addressing environmental issues since 1999. In our ten years of programming we have worked with over 400 artists, curated 38 exhibitions, 70 programs and collaborated with over 140 organizations. To celebrate our achievements as well as raise money for future programs we recently held our first benefit auction at Mina Dresden Gallery in San Francisco on December 4th, 2009.

What Matters Most? begins Thurs April 15, 2010 and ends with our Benefit Sale: Thursday, April 28th , 2010. PLEASE CLICK ON THE FLYER ABOVE FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION.

CONTACT: amy@ecoartspace.org or tricia@ecoartspace.org

276 artists participating as of 4.10 include:

Joan Bankemper, Andrea Reynosa, Joy Garnett, Michele Brody, Chrysanne Stathacos, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Diane Burko, Sandy Gellis, Fritz Haeg, Steven Siegel, Joanne Greenbaum, Lisa Hoke, Dove Bradshaw, Jaanika Peerna, Chris Kennedy, Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Teri Hackett, Elizabeth Demaray, Robert Lobe, Kathleen Gilje, David Schafer, Claudia Hart, Lori Nozick, Christy Rupp, Kathe Burkhart, Joanne Howard, Abigail Doan, Alan Wexler, Charles Goldman, Marion Wilson, Emily Brown, Katie Holten, Robin Kahn, Nina Yankowitz, Carter Hodgkin, Geoffrey Hendricks, Nina Katchadourian, Hunter Reynolds, Erik Hanson, Janet Pihlblad, Kunie Suguira, J.J. L’Hereux, Austin Thomas, Mikael Levin, Rhona Bitner, Michael Somoroff, Sandi Slone, Jill Levine, Steve Keister, Alison Moritsugu, LC Armstrong, Stacy Levy, Jan Harrison, David Webster, Simon Draper, Mary Mattingly, Susan Leibovitz Steinman, Ann Rosenthal, Steffi Domike, Mary Ann Strandell, Kazumi Tanaka, Aviva Rahmani, Robin Lasser, Brandon Ballengee, Shan Wells, Carla Gannis, James Brady, Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Lenore Malen, Thomas Huber, Rick Mills, Alan Michelson, Lisa Adams, Chrissie Orr, Susan Silas, Elisa Pritzker, Joy Episalla, Carrie, Yamaoka, Eve Andree Laramee, Jenny Hankwitz, Sant Khalsa, Melissa McGill, David Nyzio, Molly Herman, Mary Anne Davis, George Lea, Ruth Hardinger, Glenna Cole Allee, Suzan Shutan, Cathey Billian, Leonard Bullock, Stefan Hagen, Barbe Slitkin, Stefanie Nagorka, K.K. Kozik, Carla Goldberg, Claudia Schwalb, Joan Perlman, Monika Teal, Bill Schuck, Despo Magoni, Gregory Botts, Steven Kenny, Jackie Brookner, Tom Snelgrove, Lisa Adams, Dianne Bowen, Catherine Harris, Jennifer Cecere, Truman T. Lowe, Doug Henders, Rodney Samuelson, Stephanie Brody-Lederman, Mimi Smith, Kathryn Lynch, Basia Irland, Joel Tauber, Xavier Cortada, Beverly Naidus, Peter Bynum, Kathleen Sweeney, Anne Senstad, Brian Alfred, Ron Klein, Cameron Davis, Catherine Chalmers, Daniel Reiser, Suzy Sureck, Yo Park, Karen Dolmanisth, Susan English, Oliver Wasow, Catherine Howe, Deborah Kass, Song Xin, Richard Bruce, Sharon Butler, Jill Slaymaker, Terri Amig, Charlotte Schulz, Brenda Zlamany, Jennifer Zackin, Sarah Bliss, Abigail Stern, Brenda Zlamany, Peggy Cyphers, Mauro Zamora, Marilla Palmer, Daniel Wiener, Bill Schuck, Cynthia Robinson, Chuck Agro, Laura Lynch, Gabriella Russomagno, Ed Bisese, Matt Bua, Jill Vasileff, Janet Biggs, Lorrie Fredette, T├ónia Pires, Judy Glantzman, J. Henry Fair, Mary Jones, Kim Holleman, Jane Marsching, Ming Fay, Rosa Valado, Nikki Johnson, Sarah Hinckley, Ryan Cronin, Paul Dacey, Kyle Gallup, Amy Caterina, Constance Merriman, Vaughn Bell, Philip Krohn, Andrea Polli & Joe Gilmore, Gary Brewer, John Rolof, Sarah Pedlow, Ruri, Stephen Kaltenbach, Nils-Udo, Samanthan Fields, Ned Kahn, Sylvia Tidwell, Lillian Ball, Mark Andrew Gravel, Karen Rietzel, Therese Lahaie, Mark Brest van Kempen, Joan Perlman, Joan Baron, Alastair Noble, The Canary Project, Jason Houston, John Hitchcock, Jenny Hankwitz, Ulricke Arnold, Nina Dubois, Dianna Cohen, Talia Cotton, James Andrews, Nsumi Collective, Jacki Apple, Annie Kyle, Larry Krone, Nikko Sedgwick, Lewis de Soto, Cary Peppermint, Mardi Burnham, Nathan Goddard, Lawrence Miller, Robin Tewes, Roy Staab, Aleta Wolfe, Federica Matta, Suzanne McClelland, Peter Iannarelli, Nick Lamia, Todd Sargood, Ruth Wallen, Nitin Mukul, Alyce Santoro, Peter L. Johnson, Suzanne Stryk, Raquel Rabinovich, Amy Bassin, Thomas Eller, Jennifer Zackin, Catherine Tirr, Laura Lynch, David Chow, Maxine Henryson, Marika Arapoglou, Christopher Beatty, Christopher Been, Margaret Carey, Kristin Chin, Karen Chubak, Alicia Duque, Lourd Bennett Galvez, Karen Koo, Aubin Norwood, Philip Song, Alison Schuettinger, Claudia Seniro, Claire Snavely, Michelle Tse, Patrick Janssen Toh, Hannah Zingre, Helene Wasserman, Jennifer Timmer, Sarah McCoubrey, Veru Narula, Craig Wickwire, Sheilah Rechtschaffer, Joseph Smolinsky, Suzanne Anker, Janet Faith Farb, Chere Krakovsky, Kim Mayhew, Lael Marshall, Arlene Rush, Norm Magnusson, Gina Vigliarolo, Frie J. Jacobs, Aline Mare, Greg Patch, Rosalind Schneider, Dennis Mcleod, Bill Schuck, Santiago Adeoye, Jason Middlebrook, Kimberley Hart, Mary Miss,

We give thanks to Exit Art for their support. This event is a continuation of our relationship with the Social-Environmental Aesthetic (SEA) program including our participation in The Drop exhibition in 2006 and EPA in 2008.

Amy Lipton and Patricia Watts


Mark Brest van Kempen: A Sustainable Public Art by Patricia Watts

System" prototype installed at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin County, CA, 2000

Since the late 1980s, Bay Area artist Mark Brest van Kempen has produced art that connects people with plant and animal habitat, architecture and infrastructure. His interest is to reveal the social, ecological and historical layers that encompass a given “place.” His early influences growing up in Utah were Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. And, although he does not physically shape the land as his medium, his real inspiration has been the pursuit to convey how to live on the land sustainably.

There are a numbe
r of artists today concerned with how we interact with nature, and Brest van Kempen is one of a handful that have chosen the long hard road to create “green” public art. His commitment to educating about ecological systems is evident, as after 20 years he has only recently begun to see the fruits of his labor. This is a product of both his dedication to this work and the more recent interest and evolution of public art department directors who are seeking to capture funding for projects via water and transportation infrastructure funding.

In 2000, Brest van Kempen created an indoor wetland prototype entitled “Cleaning System” while in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin (CA). The installation diverted wastewater from a washing machine into a filtration pond of plants, tadpoles and fish to clean and monitor the health of the water. “This piece was part o
f a series of works to research and develop human infrastructures that can be grafted to natural systems, blurring the distinction between natural and man-made,” stated Brest van Kempen. The excess water flowed outside the building to water exterior plants.

he following year he created another installation at the Headlands entitled Drinking Fountain for People and Plants, a functional fountain designed to return a portion of city water to native plants, filtering the water and sending it back to the sewer clean. In this work, a person takes a drink from the fountain, which then transports the excess water down a diagonal planter, watering plants, thus giving back to nature. This work exemplifies Brest van Kempen belief that, “Taking and giving are automatically intertwined in the same act.”

These two works have been pivotal for the artist’s career and have increased his eligibility for sustainable public art projects. By charting this new territory Brest van Kempen broke ground for v
isual artists who have primarily shown in galleries and who have created temporal site-specific works with nonprofits in the public sphere, to do more large scale infrastructure artworks.

Ravenna Creek Project, 2002-2009

For two decades watershed groups in Seattle rallied to redirect a creek, naturally fed by springs and runoff, which had been diverted to a sewer line and water treatment plant over fifty years ago. This short-sighted decision unnecessarily treated the creek water, and by 2002, the county stepped up to divert Ravenna Creek back to where it had flowed historically, except now mostly underground. Brest van Kempen was then competitively selected through a national public art RFQ process and was invited to trace this historical and present day Ravenna streambed down a one-mile corridor to Lake Washington, which flows into Union Bay.

The public art works created for the Ravenna Creek Project, which are currently in multiple phases of completion, include an outfall structure and viewing station where the creek enters the pipeline underground from the park; and additional interventions along the sidewalks to the lake including three daylighting vaults, blue demarcation lines and inset spelling ‘Ravenna Creek’ on the sidewalks, and embedded plaques with inset capsules of native seed inside. For this project Brest van Kempen memorialized the existence of Ravenna Creek, working hand-in-hand with the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation and Metro/King County Drainage and Wastewater (Public Art Budget $200,000).

Upcoming Projects

For those of you living in or visiting the Bay Area, the unveiling of Brest van Kempen’s latest public art project in Oakland, Views of the Greenbelt, includes a combination of sculptural viewing devices, strategically placed sculptures of native flora and fauna, and interpretive signage to focus viewers' attention on the history and ecology of the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt and Temescal Creek. Funding was allocated by a local measure for Clean Water & Safe Parks passed in 2002, which provided $2.8 million for public art projects pertaining to this measure. This project was competitively commissioned through the City of Oakland’s Public Art Commission in 2005 (Public Art Budget $75,000).

Brest van Kempen was also selected this summer by the City of San Jose's Environmental Services Department (ESD) and the Public Art Program in collaboration with the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant to create an interpretive artwork as an integrative aspect of the current Plant tours. Some 4,000 visitors each year are invited to consider the issues that impact water conservation to help ensure the safe treatment of 110 million gallons of sewage a day on behalf of 1.4 million residents (Public Art Budget $100,000).

It is projects like these, green sustainable public art, that create what the Oakland Arts Commission considers “social equity . . . which can enhance the educational, recreational and aesthetic aspects of the landscape, adding quality of life and appreciation for the ecology of the land. To make accessible or transparent the processes that provide clean water can help safeguard communities.” The use of public art as a catalyst for community dialogue is a unique and exciting opportunity for the general public, utilities providers, and the art world. Mark Brest van Kempen’s work is subtle, almost invisible in some cases. However, sustainable art is about walking lightly on the land, something that this artist knows how to do very well.

Originally published in the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts Quarterly Newsletter September 2009. To purchase the full issue go