Can Art Drive Change on Climate Change? An Evening with Alexis Rockman
Above: Alexis Rockman, The Farm, 2000. Oil and acrylic on wood panel, 96 x 120 in.
On Thursday, December 5, 2019, Bruce Museum Presents poses the provocative question “Can Art Drive Change on Climate Change?”
Leading the conversation is acclaimed artist and climate-change activist Alexis Rockman, who will present specially chosen examples of his work and discuss how, and why, he uses his art to sound the alarm about the impending global emergency.
Adding insight and his own expert perspective is The Boston Globe’s David Abel, who since 1999 has reported on war in the Balkans, unrest in Latin America, national security issues in Washington D.C., and climate change and poverty in New England. Abel was also part of the team that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News for the paper’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. He now covers the environment for the Globe.
Following Rockman’s presentation, Abel will join Rockman for a wide-ranging dialogue at the intersection of art and environmental activism, followed by question-and-answer session with the audience.
Among the current generation of American artists profoundly motivated by nature and its future—from the specter of climate change to the implications of genetic engineering—Rockman holds an unparalleled place of honor.
Born in 1962 and raised in New York City, Rockman has been the subject of many international solo and group exhibitions, including a celebrated Smithsonian retrospective, Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow. Rockman’s work is featured in public and private collections around the world, including the Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, the Whitney Museum, and Yale University Art Gallery.
“I first heard the words ‘climate change’ in 1994 when I asked a paleontologist friend, ‘What are you afraid of for our future?’” Rockman told the New York Times in 2018. “He mentioned climate change and told me why he was scared. I was terrified but hopeful that we could rally as a species and avoid disaster. A lot has changed since then — mainly, from an environmental perspective — for the worse. I used to believe that knowledge and information would be enough to open our eyes to environmental devastation and that we would save the world.
“I made art partly to cope with what I was witnessing and to support a campaign for conservation. I believed that if one could render moments of extinction, genocide, population explosion and political discord visible, then we might learn to confront and change the conditions leading to civilization’s collapse.”
Along with his reportorial coverage, David Abel has directed several environmentally focused documentaries. They include “Gladesmen: The Last of the Sawgrass Cowboys,” a 2016 feature-length film about the U.S. government's $16 billion effort to restore the Everglades; “Sacred Cod,” a film about the historic collapse of the iconic cod fishery in New England that was broadcast to a global audience by the Discovery Channel in 2017; and “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World's Richest Fishing Grounds,” which premiered in 2018 at the International Maritime Film Festival.
Abel is now working on a new film about the race to save North Atlantic right whales from extinction and is the host of a new podcast about climate change called “Climate Rising.”
Join us for a night of captivating conversation with Alexis Rockman and David Abel in the latest installment of Bruce Museum Presents, our monthly series of public programs featuring thought leaders in the fields of art and science.
Doors open 6:20 pm for a reception with light bites and beverages, followed by the panel discussion and Q&A, 7:00-8:30 pm. Seats are $30 for Museum members, $45 for non-members. To reserve a seat at An Evening with Alexis Rockman, visit this page brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376.
Bruce Museum Presents is supported by the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Special thanks to Paulaner USA for supporting our public programs and special events.