What Matters Most? 2010 benefit wrap up

It's hard to believe almost an entire month has passed since our NYC benefit. It was a whirlwind month with exhibitions in three spaces simultaneously as well as two evening events. First for the What Matters Most? exhibition at Exit Art we began hanging the show on April 13th with 200 works which grew to 290 before the final sale date of April 28th. We hung the show in rows of 2 but ended up with a few salon style walls. The works were amazingly diverse and interesting. Some addressed the NY Times dot earth question that we posted to initiate the project - others were more generally about nature and/or art's relationship with nature - and the range encompassed every medium from pencil drawings, watercolors and oil paintings to 3D objects in ceramics and metal - to photography and video. We were genuinely overwhelmed with the generosity of the donating artists and the amount of time and effort that went into creating their beautiful and inspiring works of art.

Midway through
the exhibition, ecoartspace presented a free evening of programs at Exit Art which included the documentary film Crude:The Real Price of Oil by Joe Berlinger, a gripping film about the ongoing and protracted legal battle between Texaco/Chevron and a small community of Ecuadorian indigenous people. Their lands and water have been polluted by these oil companies with high instances of cancer and disease in the local population. Following the screening, artist Jackie Brookner delivered a needed uplifting lecture about the relationship between humans and the natural world with many provocative images. She also read from her recent book, Urban Rain published in conjunction with a major public art project of the same name in San Jose, CA. Closing the evening, Elizabeth Thompson, Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, presented images and information about the Buckminster Fuller Challenge finalists. The inspirational Challenge finalists project proposals range from natural water irrigation systems, monitoring air pollution, creating neighborhood local food economies, and reversing desertification of the world's savannas and grassland. On June 2nd the BFI Challenge winner will be announced and given the deserved $100,000.00 cash prize to work towards implementation of their proposal.

The following week, for the ecoartspace closing evening party and sale, we hosted over 150 guests who purchased 45 artworks, enjoyed delicious food, IZZE sodas (all donated), wine and beer at the Exit Art underground bar and music by David Rothenberg and Ben Neill in the adjacent theater/lounge. The Exit Art staff were supremely helpful and gracious with their time throughout the 2 week exhibition and during the party. All in all - it was a monumental effort for which we raised nearly $10,000 (not bad for a first time event)!

At the same time, over at Chashama at W. 44th St, ecoartspace sponsored another exhibition by the Habitat for Artists (HFA) team titled "Recycling the Studio." In this very high trafficked block (which was closed off to vehicles the night of the opening) passersby could wander in and experience a mini artist's studio (habitat) with an opening window that looked out to 44th Street, as well as an art exhibition by 15 artists involved with the HFA project including mainstays Simon Draper, Todd Sargood and Chris Manning. Wall Street Journal writer Wendy Bounds spent a day inside the habitat blogging about her experience.

At the opposite end of Manhattan in Battery Park City, another ecoartspace sponsored project was on view as part of the World Financial Arts program. Artists Suzanne and Mathilde Husky installed their miniature "bonsai tree" installation titled Forest, sculptures made from sewn used and recycled clothing. It was installed in a long bank of storefront windows in the World Financial Winter Garden where thousands of people stroll through everyday during their lunch break or as visitors to the riverfront walkway just outside. It was exciting for us and for the artists to be involved in such high profile venues and in conjunction with other 40th anniversary Earth Day celebrations.

Last but not least some nice press and listings f
or the event:

NY Times Dot Earth blog

The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts
Earth Day New York
DadaMail/Exit Art
Hybrid Press
Wall St. Journal on
HFA at Chashama
The Metro NYC on Forest at
World Financial
NYC loves NYC on Forest

images from top to bottom:
installation view of What Matters Most? at Exit Art
David Rothenberg and Ben Neill in performance at Exit Art
Wendy Bounds reporting from Chashama
Forest at World Financial Center