Issues In Contemporary Art
Adjunct Lecturer in Art & Art History Nina Felshin designed "ARHA 362: Issues in Contemporary Art" to explore visual arts, writers, musicians, and performing artists who are engaged with raising the public consciousness about the future of the planet, specifically in reference to climate change. The students also assisted in researching the Zilkha gallery exhibition Global Warning which took place in Spring 2009. Felshin worked with Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Suzanne O’Connell and artist/musician Michael Pestel, who shared their research methods and informed the trajectory of the class.
"At least seven classes were devoted to a discussion of relevant issues, issues that frequently inform the work of visual artists addressing climate change and global warming. Students interviewed at least ten friends, family, and others about their personal observations and encounters with the effects of climate change and global warming. The class discussion was intended to focus on differences among attitudes as well attempts to distinguish between cyclical variations and actual change. Scientist Suzanne O’Connell addressed some of the misunderstandings, etc. in scientific terms to give students a basic understanding of the influences on environmental change. Artist Michael Pestel addressed the extinction of birds in his work. Artist Mary Lun spoke about a series of recent photographic works that are, ultimately, about looking and seeing things at the margins of the landscape and life, things we ordinarily pass by, addressing the critical importance for all of us to learn how to look at our world, including the environmental landscape, very carefully and critically both literally and figuratively."
- Excerpt from Faculty Report by Nina Felshin