Tezi Gabunia, still from "The Flooding of the Louvre".

Artists are responding to concerns that resonate today about the possible harms of human action in accelerating global warming. During the Armory Show, which took place in New York until March 8, the work Breaking News: The Flooding of the Louvre, by artist Tezi Gabunia, a native of Georgia, captured the attention of visitors by asking “what if the Louvre Museum was flooded?”. 

Gabunia’s work intends to address both the fragility of art as a memory of our civilization in the face of the damage that can result from rampant climate change and also to put the veracity of information to the test, alerting us to our willingness to put faith in unreliable news – thus extending his critique to a political sector on the rise in the world. 

In the work, the room of the Louvre Museum where the paintings of theseries of Maria de Medici, by the Brabantino painter Peter Paul Rubens, is invaded by water that quickly fills the space. About two years ago, the Louvre was actually overrun by the waters of the River Seine, leading at the time to the closure of its lower level as a precautionary measure and the relocation of approximately 35.000 works to higher sections of the Museum, although nothing was damaged. . 

At the Armory, Gabunia presented the work Breaking News: The Flooding of the Louvre divided it in two parts, one composed solely of the video and the other composed of a diorama, belying any understanding of the image as a real event. In his next exhibition, which will take place in May at the Tbilisi Art Fair in his native country, the artist will recreate the model on a large scale in collaboration with Galerie Kornfeld in Berlin. In this reassembly, the space to be flooded will have a length of 19 meters.

Fresh air for the Armory Show

After 19 years, the Armory bids farewell to Hudson Pier. To artnet, Art fair director Nicole Berry said the distance between the piers has been a challenge and hopes the new location at the Javits Center will help attract more visitors, also following another move by the organization to change the date the Armory will be held from 2021 in the American fall, from September 9 to 12. 

Global warming still on the agenda

After declaring a “climate emergency”, on July 17, 2019, Tate Modern set a new goal to address the needs imposed by global warming: its aim is to cut 10% of the institution's energy expenditure within 2 years. 

The effort is added to a greater goal established ten years ago, around 2007, which foresaw a cut of up to 40% of its energy consumption, resulting in the updating of the air conditioning system, the replacement of the old lighting with LED lighting and the monitoring of the use of the organization's water; In addition, today the gallery has 100% of its energy supplied by sustainable ways, a factor guaranteed by an extra charge on the supply, according to the director of finance Stephen Wingfield. 

General view of the Tate Modern
General view of the Tate Modern

Regarding Tate's transparency in relation to the decision, director Frances Morris told ARTNews: “We started to share this with the outside world, because it is incredibly important to keep promises. We have to be a credible model, because many institutions and individuals look forward to following best practices and demonstrable examples of how they can respond.”international art, network art, the way we connect across the world and the power of conversations across culture, I think will be even more visible in the next two years than they already have been.”

A practical example of why to engage the institution in a “greener” energy structuring was the 51% increase in annual energy expenditures in the period of a decade since 2007. This happened, in part, due to the need to intensify the cooling of the space during the hottest days of summer. In the midst of this endeavor, the drop in state funding for cultural institutions and the abandonment of BP (British Petrol) – which had this partnership for 27 years, impose some barriers. 

Within the European scope, the Center Pompidou, in Paris, and the Reina Sofia Museum, in Madrid, follow the paradigm, the latter setting a 25% cut in energy consumption by 2030, while the former promises the ambitious plan to achieve a system of zero emission within the same period.

Nature and indigenous struggles

In Australia, discussions on the climate emergency are being brought to the table by the Art Biennial 2020 together with the conversation about indigenous struggles. Under the executive leadership of Barbara Moore, who had previously held the position of director of development for the organization, and artistic direction by Brook Andrew, an Australian artist and academic, the Bienal was titled NIRIN, or “Limit” in the language of the Wiradjuri Indigenous People, “ NIRIN WIR”, meaning “The limit of the sky”, is, in turn, the name given to the interconnected program of free events that will run through all 87 days of the exhibition. About the importance of this choice, Andrew stated to the The art newspaper that “language defines culture, and without language, how can culture be practiced?”, adding that “dominant languages ​​flatten the nuances or intricacies of anyone's way of life”.

In Pursuit of Venus [Infected] Lisa Reihana
In Pursuit of Venus [Infected] Lisa Reihana
This year, the Sydney Biennale will bring both artists and scientists to the event, as one of the changes planned to diverge from the traditional, European model of the biennial that has guided its growth since 1973, something symbolic especially considering that it has been exactly 250 years since the explorer seafarer Captain James Cook claimed the east coast of the Australian mainland for Britain. One of those confirmed for the endeavor is the Adrift Lab, whose work includes researching plastics adrift in the oceans. They will have a space in one of the six main venues of the Biennale: Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.

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