Part of the 2012 Sustainability Lecture Series
CUSA Director, UC Irvine
This lecture explores the innovative and compelling ways in which visual artists have depicted, worked within, and expressed concern about the natural environment. From the legitimization of landscapes as a subject of fine art in the 19th century, through the land altering earthworks projects of the 20th century, to today’s aesthetic engagement with sustainability, visual artists have played a major role in nurturing our capacity to see and strengthening our resolve to care. The arts offer a unique and vital perspective on current sustainability challenges, and the most powerful works of recent years combine beauty, passion and technical skill to produce objects, events and experiences that honor the past and yet have no precedent. If sustainability fails in the 21st century, it will be a failure of our collective imagination, a failure to harness the unlimited creativity of humanity to programs of social justice, ecological integrity, and material well-being.