Where art meets environmental action


Check out glorious contemporary and modern art at EXPO CHICAGO this weekend (Thursday, 9/20 – Sunday 9/23) at NAVY PIER.  Be sure to stop by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) exhibits.  Two of America’s most esteemed environmental artists have partnered with NRDC to spotlight the challenges faced by our local water resources.  Last night I happened to attend the preview opening, here’s a sneak peak…



Maya Lin’s intricate depiction of the Chicago River.  Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Corr.

Maya Lin, an American architectural artist and honorary NRDC Trustee, will be contributing a number of pieces to NRDC’s booth, including Reversing the Flow, a topographical map of the Chicago River made entirely of pins. A sound/video installation from What is Missing?, an ongoing project about endangered species and ecosystems, will also be on display.  Maya is best known as winning the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., while she was a senior at Yale University.



The 2,000 pound Garbage Wall is quite a statement.  It’s fun to discover the interesting found pieces so artfully jumbled together!




NRDC and gallerist Rhona Hoffman have worked to bring the late Gordon Matta-Clark’s Garbage Wall to Chicago to highlight water pollution issues in the Midwest.  The original Garbage Wall, constructed on the first Earth Day in April of 1970 at a public event in New York City, was emblematic of the focus Matta-Clark placed on art, architecture, activism, and citizen engagement.  It also signified the arrival of environmental awareness in art.  For its Chicago reincarnation, this high profile installation was constructed with garbage sourced directly from the Chicago, Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers.




These creative collaborations coincide with the launch of NRDC Midwest’s Chicago river campaign.  To learn more, check out their new website.  More to come on protecting our local water resources in an upcoming post!




NRDC’s cool interactive flip book will lead you on a tour of the environmentally themed artwork on display throughout EXPO CHICAGO.



Written by Amanda Hanley