June 1–September 8, 2019

Fragile Earth: The Naturalist Impulse in Contemporary Art


Just as artists of the 19th and 20th centuries participated in forging an American natural history as explorers, cataloguers, collectors, and early environmentalists, contemporary artists continue to incorporate and comment on the natural world in their art. Motivated by the inexorable rise of urban development and the subsequent deterioration of our fragile planet, artists today confront the impact of human intervention on the land, global climate change, and shifting environmental politics in diverse ways. Four leading contemporary artists, Mark Dion, James Prosek, Jennifer Angus, and Courtney Mattison will create installations that reflect the vulnerability of our natural world in conversation with the landscape and historic structures of the Florence Griswold Museum. By bringing to the site artists who make natural history their medium, Fragile Earth will illustrate the continued relevance of ecology and nature conservation to contemporary artistic practice and showcase the persuasive and powerful role artists play in advocating for the preservation of our earth by bringing their perspective to natural science.