Art and the Environment

Drs. Billie Wickre and Doug White, Biology

In 1987, Surrounded Islands by Christo and Jeanne-Claude Christo made headlines because of the environmental damage the piece caused in Biscayne Bay, despite the artists' attempts to anticipate the environmental impact of the piece. Subsequently, artists, critics and environmentalists have debated the ethics and advisability of art that interacts with or disrupts nature. In this course, an art historian and a biologist will lead students through the issues associated with contemporary art that interacts with the environment. Participants in the course will examine a range of art works designed to enhance, interact with or sustain the natural environment. They will become better critical thinkers, readers, writers and speakers on the complex subject of human interaction with the environment, and will become familiar with a rich and varied number of artistic productions and a body of scholarship in the area of environmental art. Finally, students will produce a collaborative piece of environmental art. Students will work in the classroom, the library, the science lab, the computer labs and the art studios of the College, and in the natural environment.