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Eco-Friendly Art

February 05, 2009

The peculiar, erratic stylings of a motorcycle-turned-trumpet are what first meet the ears of visitors to Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art, a traveling exhibition now on display in the Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art at Lewis & Clark.

The rumblings come from Returning a Sound, a video by artists Allora & Calzadilla. It follows the path of Homar, a civil disobedient, as he motors through the verdant terrain of Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico, which until 2003 was used by U.S. and NATO forces to practice military bombing exercises.

Beyond Green brings together 13 artists and artist groups from North America and Europe, all of whom incorporate sustainable thinking in their art and social change in their message. Many of the artists work collaboratively and leaven serious social aims with playful, off-the-grid spark. Their approaches range from the metaphorical to the pragmatic, sometimes serving as models for audience activism.

Linda Tesner, director of the Hoffman Gallery, was delighted to bring Beyond Green to Lewis & Clark, both for the college, which has made sustainability a significant goal and priority, and particularly for art students: “I think it’s important to present a variety of opportunities to our students. There are other models out there for ‘being an artist’ besides toiling away in isolation in one’s studio.”

Beyond Green is on view through December 7.