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Art and Ecology: Overview

In this guide...

The resources herein will help provide a basis for research on ecologically-aware art.  For a more comprehensive listing of resources on art and the environment link to the Green Arts Web

For environmental resources at CMU and beyond link to

The Environment: A Multidisciiplinary Research Guide

Here is a recommended blog:

ecoartspace blog

supported by ecoartspace and the ecoartnetwork of knowledgeable artists who care about art as a catalyst for a sustainalbe world.

Here is a link to the foremost international
online museum on art and ecology:


Here is a link to the long-time and respected web site for women eco-artists  WEAD Women Eco Art Dialog

Featured Projects


Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Nexus Series: Strange Times: Earth in the Age of the Human

Actors, writers, scientists, and musicians will help us explore our strange times and even stranger future by reimagining what we mean by nature, technology, and, ultimately, being human.

View the Strange Times video trailer.



The Distance Plan  is an open-access online journal (2012-present) and catalogue of works and projects of artists, writers and designers to promote critical discussion of climate change within the arts. The Distance Plan Project was founded by Abby Cunnane and Amy Howden-Chapman.




A Community-Powered Learning Library and Alternative News Center For People Who Want To Change The WorldLinks to over 3000 films available online for free. The goal of this resource is "to provide citizens of the world with the information and perspectives essential for creating a more just, sustainable and democratic society." An extensive subject list allows you to focus in on your areas of interest.

On May 11, 2017 a tthe Sea Side Beach Resort of Naic, Cavite, Greenpeace Philippines and a Philippine-Japanese creative agency, Dentsu Jayme Syfu with local artists launched a 73 x 10 ft. sculpture of a dead whale made out of plastic waste in a campaign to raise awareness of the criticality of plastic waste pollution.  It was inspired from the 30 beached whales found in the shores of Europe just last year. One of them was found in the Philippines last December in Samal, Davao.



Eco Art: A Short List of Recommended "Readings"

The following basic list of books, articles and links provides a good start for those who would like to familiarize themselves with art, artists, history and theory influential in the current upsurge in the visual arts to green our planet. The revolutionary 1960's brought many visual artists to focus on the environment, but most retained the old paradigm of nature as an object. It wasn't until the 1990's that the art world began to address a caring relationship with non-human nature and the term 'eco art' was introduced.

Link to the Green Arts Web for a more comprehensive listing of books, articles, artists projects and community efforts related to art and the environment.


Brown, Andrew. Art & Ecology Now. London: Thames & Hudson, 2014.

Visual Arts

Boettger, Suzanne. Earthworks, Art and the Landscape of the Sixties. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002.
HUNT STACKS-4 N6494 .E27 B64 2002
A good introduction to the beginnings of environmental art, most of which was not sustainable practice.

Brookner, Jackie, guest ed. Art and Ecology. Art Journal, 51:2, Summer, 1992 8-99.
A 20-article special issue edited by practicing eco artist, Jackie Brookner.

Forum: Eco-tistical Art in Art Journal
Vol. 65, no1. Spring 2006, 54-81.

A special section reporting on and responding to art and environmental practice issues discussed during a daylong series of events and conversations at the 2005 Annual Conference of the College Art Association in Atlanta in 2005. Organized by Linda Weintraub and supported by Creative Capital.

Linda Weintraub: Eco-tistical Art introduction; I Seem to Be a Verb: R. Buckminster Fuller as Pioneering Eco-Artist; "Final Thoughts:  Eco-Art Practice.
Patricia Phillips [Betty] Beaumont: Who Survives?
Stephanie Smith. Suzanne Lacy and Susan Leibovitz Steinman --The Confluence of Conservation Ecology and Community Economics.
DeWitt Godfrey. Maureen Brennan--Working the System: Red Tape, Bureaucracies, Permits, Insurance, Protocols, Parking and Port-a-Potties.
Victoria Vesna. Mel Chin--Provocative Eco-Art in Action.
Ann Rosenthal. Billy X. Curmano--Bringing an Eco-Art Tributary into the Media Mainstream by Swimming the Mississippi.
Deborah J. Haynes. Ruth Wallen and Bevely Naidus--Exploring a City Block as a Micro-Ecosystem.
Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren. Jennifer Monson: Multisensory Exploration of the Multidiminsional Environment.
David Burns. Eve Andree Laramee--Topophilia: Research as the Genesis of Love of the Environment.
Hannah Higgins on Kinji Akagawa--Artistic Journey from the Egotistical Self to the Eco-tistical Self: Shifting the Focus from Maker to Relationship.
Sam Bower on Get Information, Give Information: Facilitating the Production and Teaching of Environmental Art.

Gablik, Suzi. The Reenchantment of Art. New York : Thames and Hudson , 1991.
HUNT STACKS-4 N71 .G68 1991
A milestone in art criticism calling for a revolution in art toward socially conscious and ecological art.

ground works: Environmental Collaboration in Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University, 2005. Published on the occasion of the exhibition held at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, October 14 - December 2005. With Grant Kester, Chief Curator and Patrick Deegan, New Media Curator, University of California, San Diego.
Goal: " see to the design and construction of public art installations that uniquely combine aesthetics with utility-scale clean energy generation."

Lippard, Lucy. Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York : New Press, 1997.
HUNT STACKS-4 GF503 .L56 1997
A wandering and brilliant book on art, society, ecology and why a sense of place makes a difference.

Matilsky, Barbara C. Fragile Ecologies: Contemporary Artists' Interpretations and Solutions. New York : Rizzoli International, 1992. Published in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art exhibition.
HUNT OVRSZQ-4 N6512 .M35 1992
Outlines some well-known and emerging artists working in the environment at that time.

Neal, Lucy, et. al. Playing for Time: Making Art As if the World Mattered. London: Oberon Books, 2015
HUNT STACKS-4 NX180 .S6 N43 2015
An inspirational and practical activist manual collaboratively produced by 64 creatives for "reimagining the world in which life on Earth is cherished and sustained."

Strelow, Heike, curator. Natural Reality: Artistic Positions Between Nature and Culture/Künstlerische Positionen Zwischen Natur und Kultur. Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst. Stuttgart : DACO, 1999.
HUNT OVRSZQ-4 709.04 N2853
A diverse, detailed exhibition catalog of artists addressing the environment - not all necessarily using sustainable practices.

Oakes, Baile, ed. Sculpting With the Environment. New York : Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1995.
HUNT OVRSZQ-4 GE170 .O25 1995
A detailed book on artists working in the environment and their methods with ecology in mind. Includes two critical introductory essays outlining new paradigms for art and science: Suzi Gablik. The Ecological Imperative; Fritjof Capra, Physicist. The New Vision of Reality (reprinted from Elmwood Quarterly, Fall 1992).

Spaid, Sue and Amy Lipton, curators. Ecovention: Current Art to Transform Ecologies. Cincinnati :The Contemporary Arts Center ;; ecoartspace, 2002.
HUNT STACKS-4 N8217 .E28 S63 2002
One of the first, if not the first, major group exhibition and catalog about art and artists immersed in practice to help save the planet.

Weintraub, Linda. To Life: Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press. 2012.
HUNT STACKS-4 N6494 .E6 W45 2012
The most comprehensive survey and study guide to date on artistic approaches to environmental art in the 20th and 21st Online components @ include a table of contents, index of artists, and teaching guides.


Cronin,William. The Trouble with Wilderness ; or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature in Uncommon Ground:Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. New YOrk and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996, 69-90.
HUNT STACKS-2 GE195 .U53 1996
An excellent introductory reading which illuminates how humans have developed constructs about non-human nature and how that has shaped and skewed our culture and thinking.

Orr, David. Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect. Washington , D.C.; Covello , California : Island Press, 2004
HUNT STACKS-2 GE70 .O77 2004
Essential reading for artists who teach.

Griffin, Susan. “To Love the Marigold: The Politics of Imagination,’ Whole Earth Review., No. 89, Spring 1996, 60-67. Re-published as “Can Imagination Save Us? Thinking About the Future with Beginners Mind,” in the Utne Reader, July/August, 1996, 43-46.
A truly inspiring article about the powers of shared imagination.

Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael. New York: Bantam Books, 1992. Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael. New York: Bantam Books, 1992.
Guaranteed to rattle your pre-conceived notions about "mother culture." The sequel, My Ishamel is also recommended.
HUNT-STACKS-2 PS3567 .U338 I8 1995


Mo Dawley
Art and Drama Librarian

Tome II (Ice Book) Rio Grande, Albuqerque,
New Mexico, 2009 by Basia Irland

Academic Art Databases

There is no one single academic database on art and ecology or art and the environment,  but the following arts article databases available to Carnegie Mellon users are possible starting points. Ask if you have questions.

Art and Archtecture Source (formerly Art Source)
Combines the databases Art-Full Text and Art Index Retrospective plus additional full-text articles from the Art and Architecture Database.

ArtBibliographies Modern

Arts: Search (Design)

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

Bibliography of the History of Art

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance

IIPA: International Index to the Performing Arts

To peruse databases in other disciplines link to:

Carnegie Mellon Databases

The Environment: A Multidisciplinary Research Guide


New Acqs of Interest

Engelhard, Michael. Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2017.

Carpenter, Ele, ed.
Nuclear Culture Source Book
London: Black Dog Publishing, 2016

Demos, T.J.
Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology
Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2016

Johanna Burton, Shannon Jackson, Dominic Willsdon
Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good
The MIT Press, 2016

The Arts and Ecology @ CMU

Bob Bingham, School of Art
Professor of Art (SIS Site-specific art, installation and sculpture)

Center for the Arts in Society
Arts and the environment is just one of the subjects explored at this research center.

Green Design Institute

Performance and Ecology Wendy Arons and Theresa May @ the Studio for Creative Inquiry