4 LEADING ARTISTS CHAMPIONING SUSTAINABILITY

As Frieze Art Fair 2021 opens today, we have decided to look into contemporary artists focusing on climate issues and calling for action.

1. MAYA LIN

Famous for winning a competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington at the age of 21, May Lin has since then been an environmental activisit for many years.

Her latest large-scale installation, Ghost Forest, in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park was unveiled in the 10th of May. The project will see dead cedar trees salvaged from New Jersey’s Pine Barrens planted amid the park’s greenery to highlight the effects of climate change on forests, from saltwater infiltration due to rising sea levels to the decline of biodiversity. In nature, a ghost forest is the evidence of a dead woodland that was once vibrant.

‘We have very little time left to change our climate change emission patterns and how we live within the natural world,’ Lin said in a statement about the work, which will be on view until 14 November. ‘I wanted to bring awareness to a die-off that is happening all over the world.’


2. OLAFUR ELIASSION

Recently appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for climate action by the UN, Eliasson launched a new artwork, Earth Perspectives, to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, as part of the Serpentine Gallery’s ongoing Back to Earth initiative.

His work includes: the famous artificial sun in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and and a most recent piece Ice Watch, aiming to raise awareness of the fact that time is rapidly running out.


3. ANDREAS GURSKY

His large-format photographs are often referred to as a contemporary take on 19th-century landscape painting. He has recently focused on environmental issues with his Oceans series where he took satellite images of coastal areas that are under threat from rising sea levels.


4. EDWARD BURTYNSKY

With his aerial photographs of scarred landscapes and high-profile documentaries such as Watermark, Canadian, he has become one of the art world’s leading advocates for the climate crisis.

In his most recent project, The Anthropocene Project, Burtynsky has been collaborating with filmmakers Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal o explore humanity’s impact on the planet through film, virtual reality and scientific research.

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