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Climate Art

Paulo Grangoen’s "1600 Pandas", 2008

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1600 Pandas World Tour was launched in 2008 by WWF-France and acclaimed French artist Paulo Grangeon, who crafted 1600 pandas - the number of living pandas left in the wild at that time - in various sizes with recycled materials in the form of paper mache, to spread out the importance of species conservation and sustainable development. The pandas were exhibited at around 100 locations in many countries across the globe and photographed in front of various landmarks.

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Agnes Denes’ “Wheatfield - A Confrontation” New York, 1982


In May 1982, a 2-acre wheat field was planted on a landfill in lower Manhattan, two blocks from Wall Street and the World Trade Center, facing the Statue of Liberty. Two hundred truckload of dirt were brought in and 285 furrows were dug by hand and cleared of rocks and garbage. The seeds were sown by hand and the furrows covered with soil. the field was maintained for four months, cleared of wheat smut, weeded, fertilized and sprayed against mildew fungus, and an irrigation system set up. the crop was harvested on August 16 and yielded over 1000 pounds of healthy, golden wheat.


Planting and harvesting a field of wheat on land worth $4.5 billion created a powerful paradox. Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept; it represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, and economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It called attention to our misplaced priorities. The harvested grain traveled to twenty-eight cities around the world in an exhibition called "The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger", organized by the Minnesota Museum of Art (1987-90). The seeds were carried away by people who planted them in many parts of the globe.

Jenny Kendler’s “Lounging Through the Flood”, 2019

Ninety-two years ago, the Mississippi River overflowed its banks, flooding more than 27,000 square miles of farms and townships, in an event known as The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. In this era of increasingly rapid climate change, these once rare events, have become increasingly common, rendering absurd climate denialism which has brought us to this place in history. Evoking a madcap vessel built by climate refugees or disaster-wary survivalists—Lounging Through the Flood is a sculpture created to ride these rising waters.


This floating collection of ninety-two life preserver rings topped by a classic lawn chair lounger took its inaugural voyage at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The sculpture is painted white: in this case a particular shade produced by the Behr Paint company, which was bizarrely given the evocative name “Climate Change.”  

Simultaneously occupying an uncanny hope and a recognition of massive systemic failure, Lounging through the Flood asks us to consider the complex—and particularly American—constellation of apathy, survival, denial, and ingenuity that wends its way through our society, rushing toward environmental catastrophe. It offers a comfortable seat from which to watch it all drown... or, just perhaps, attain a better view.

Chris Jordan’s “Cell phones #2”, from the exhibit Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption, 2003-2005

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​​In “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption”, Chris showcases photographs of garbage and mass consumption, a serendipitous technique which started when he visited an industrial yard to look at patterns of color and order. Jordan uses everyday commodities to illuminate the blind unawareness involved in American consumerism. His work, while often unsettling, is a bold message about unconscious behaviors in our everyday lives as American consumers, leaving it to the viewer to draw conclusions about the inevitable consequences which will arise from our habits.


Artist’s Statement: 

I am appalled by these scenes, and yet also drawn into them with awe and fascination. The immense scale of our consumption can appear desolate, macabre, oddly comical, and ironic, and even darkly beautiful; for me its consistent feature is a staggering complexity.


Listen to his TED Talk: “Turning Powerful Stats into Art”

Javier Dominguez’s "Climate is Always Changing", 2009, 2016, 2018


"Quogue during Hurricane Bill in 2009"

"Snow fall on 59th Street, Central Park South"


"Miss Saigon on Broadway during a bomb cyclone"

“The climate is always changing” is a one liner climate change deniers love to repeat in social media and in open discussions. It is a simplified, incomplete version of the truth, either out of ignorance or due to the will to misinform.


Even though the climate always changes, our problem resides in the rate of change we are experiencing. Without human intervention through the burning of fossil fuels, the changes we are experiencing would take tens of thousands of years, and not just 100 to 150 years. In 1912, an article in Popular Mechanics warned that coal burning in furnaces around the world would have a negative impact on our climate. We’ve known for years of the relation between fossil fuel burning and the green house effect at a global level. Exxon knew from at least the 1970s. Other oil industries knew even earlier, since around the 1950s.


These pictures show the effect of higher atmospheric and sea temperatures. At higher temperatures, the air can hold more water as a gas. This helps produce storms with more rain, more energy, and faster winds. With warmer winters, air temperatures below 32 °F can bring record amounts of snow for this same reason.


I am fascinated by the power of nature, and I want to capture its strength and beauty. Since I’m a New Yorker, a lot of my pictures are from Manhattan. But, I carry my camera with me always when I’m traveling. So, my search for this type of images is constant.


- Javier

These art pieces remind us that ensuring a more sustainable future is a challenge we all face. 

By simply returning your Re:Dish to the proper bin after use, you are playing an active role in fighting climate change. Just look at the impact Barclays has already made by Re:Dishing:

16,866 lbs of waste diverted!

43,587 kg of CO2e not emitted!

40,979 gallons of water saved!

Thank you for doing your part. We can't reuse if you don't return.

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