Opening Reception, Queens Museum of Art: Raising the Temperature, Works in Environmental Reactions Feb 2 2014, 3:00pm – 5:00pm

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Curator:  Luchia Meihua Lee


Raising the Temperature addresses contemporary artistic response to observed anthropogenic challenges to the environment. No one is external to the social and cultural context of life. The environmental crisis is the result of decades of commitment to the priority of material value to the exclusion of cultural change and sustainability. Human survival demands a reconfiguration of lifestyle in the context of a re-estimation of global values in Eco-preference.  The words Raising the Temperature are a metaphor for this issue which is the responsibility of us all.

Raising the Temperature comprises nine artists working in various media who search for a new vantage on this urgent and critical subject. The perspective is aesthetic, not aggressively political. Scientific alarms have been filtered through artistic sensibilities. The works presented here comment on our changing relationship to the world we inhabit, or discuss the conditions and consequences of our urban life and its toll on the planet.

In this exhibit, artists Jeremiah Teipen, Pey Chwen Lin, Xi Fei, and Hai Zhang respond to technological change in our society that reinforces behaviors contributing to the environmental crisis. They are followed in transition by Todd Gavin. In contrast, Marlene Tseng Yu, Sarah Walko, Miya Ando and Kay Lin share a more romantic or intimate approach.

Jeremiah Teipen transplants information abused in cyber space to his artwork and mimics the busy city we inhabit. Pey Chwen Lin uses the Eve Clone series to criticize the dehumanizing effects of technology. Xi Fei comments on the Darwinian nature of Manhattan life. His work indicts not technology itself but the political system that fails to evaluate its consequences. Hai Zhang’s photographs of Chinese constructions sites underline the anarchic quality of this fevered building boom.

Todd Gavin’s mixed-media wall-mounted piece uses coal, charcoal, and oil on cement mortar to discuss the multivalent role of Carbon. Marlene Tseng Yu reacted to melting glaciers with black and white, abstract, acrylic paintings in her series Ice Cracking, while Sarah Walko reassembles natural and manmade materials to create magical assemblages suggesting that we have behaved like commanders of the biosphere. Miya Ando’s Shimenawa Sora and Obon recall an ancient Japanese respect for nature and the ancestors, and underlines our devaluation of nature. Kay Lin’s Sun, Air, Water – Balloon  refers both to restraint and to the solidarity that will lift us to a better land.

Ecology is the science of the relationship between the organism and its environments; harmony with our ecosystem requires a partnership between human culture and the physical conditions of life. Raising the Temperature is an attempt to address the link between artistic practice and the environment These artists question fundamental assumptions and their implications. A new economics and environmentalism has crossed the globe with dizzying rapidity, as fast as glaciers melt and forests disappear. Reluctant concern about this urgency will proliferate internationally and generate measures that may be possible and even meaningful. However, it is crucial to address the violence imposed by transnationals. We hope that this exhibit offers insight into an understanding of the relation between art and the environmental crisis.

The 64-page color catalogue for this exhibition contains scholarly exposition on this theme as well as fuller information about the artists.

In partnership with Rainforest Art Foundation, May 1st to May 31, 2014

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