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Harn Museum of Art brings together contemporary art addressing human impact on the environment
Liu Bolin, Chinese, b. 1973, Hiding in the City, No. 95, Coal Pile, 2010, Chromogenic print, Loan courtesy of Eli Klein, Image courtesy of Eli Klein and the artist, © Liu Bolin.

GAINESVILLE, FLA.- The Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida explores an era of rapid, radical and irrevocable ecological change through works of art by 45 international contemporary artists. The Harn-organized exhibition The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene opened Sept. 18, 2018 and will be on view through March 3, 2019. Environmental issues are being examined through more than 65 works of photography, film, sculpture and mixed media, as well as related symposia and programming.

The Anthropocene is a controversial term used to name a new geological epoch defined by human impact. While geological epochs are known as products of slow change, the Anthropocene has been characterized by speed. “Runaway climate change, rising water, surging population and expanding technologies compress our breathless sense of space and time,” said Kerry Oliver-Smith, Harn Curator of Contemporary Art. “Human impact has made a profound change on the Earth. Artists chosen for the exhibition respond by upending the status quo, challenging human mastery over nature and attuning us to the deep bond between human and non-human life.”

The World to Come unfolds around seven overlapping themes: “Deluge,” “Raw Material,” “Consumption,” “Extinction,” “Symbiosis and Multispecies,” “Justice” and “Imaginary Futures.” Topics range from disaster, environmental devastation and loss to the emergence of new bonds and alliances between humans and non-humans. Also considered is the magnitude of waste and growing populations, the laws of nature, inequality and protest. Lastly, artists explore the effects of technology and make a call for optimism with new ways of imagining a vibrant future for the world to come.

“Engaging art to create a dialogue about important topics of our time is crucial in the role of an art museum,” said Dr. Lee Anne Chesterfield, Harn Museum of Art Director. “We are grateful to the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts for supporting this endeavor and seeing the value in the exhibition’s creation, presentation and documentation.”

Artists whose work is on view in the exhibition embrace a rethinking and re-visioning of humanity’s relationship to nonhuman life. These artists include Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Claudia Andujar, Sammy Baloji, Subhankar Banerjee, Huma Bhabha, Liu Bolin, Edward Burtynsky, Sandra Cinto, Elena Damiani, Dornith Doherty, Charles Gaines, Mishka Henner, Felipe Jácome, Chris Jordan, William Kentridge, Wifredo Lam, Maroesjka Lavigne, Eva Leitolf, Dana Levy, Yao Lu, Pedro Neves Marques, Noelle Mason, Mary Mattingly, Gideon Mendel, Ana Mendieta, Kimiyo Mishima, Richard Misrach, Beth Moon, Richard Mosse, Jackie Nickerson, Gabriel Orozco, Trevor Paglen, Abel Rodríguez, Allan Sekula, Taryn Simon, Nicole Six and Paul Petritsch, Laurencia Strauss, Thomas Struth, Bethany Taylor, Frank Thiel, Sergio Vega, Andrew Yang, and Haegue Yang.

A symposium titled “The World to Come: Art, Politics and Climate Change” will be held Oct. 19 to Oct. 20, 2018. This interdisciplinary program will foster discussion around artistic practices, scientific fieldwork and anthropological research in response to our current environmental, planetary crisis. T.J. Demos, Professor of History of Art and Director of the Center for Creative Ecologies at the University of California, Santa Cruz will be the keynote speaker. Seven speakers whose expertise range from geological sciences to political science will join the Harn on the second day of the symposium. A complete schedule may be found at

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes essays by Kerry Oliver-Smith, Harn Curator of Contemporary Art; Marisol de la Cadena, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Davis; T. J. Demos, Professor of History of Art and Director of the Center for Creative Ecologies at the University of California, Santa Cruz; Natasha Myers, Associate Professor of Anthropology, York University; Trevor Paglen, artist, geographer and writer; and Joanna Zylinska, Professor of New Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University, London. The publication is supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, University of Florida Office of Research and Office of the Provost, John Early Publication Endowment, and the Robert C. and Nancy Magoon Contemporary Exhibition and Publication Endowment.

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