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Art and Ecology: Overview

In this guide

The resources herein will help provide a basis for research and history on ecologically-aware art. 

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

Art Research Guide


Web links

Art + Climate =Change
Festival of ideas, exhibitions and events

Green Arts Web

Artists network dedicated to ecological art practice

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

WEAD Women Eco Art Dialog
Renowned web site for  women eco-artists 

The Climate Museum
Mission is "to employ the sciences, art, and design to inspire dialogue and innovation that address the challenges of climate change, moving solutions to the center of our shared public life and catalyzing broad community engagement. archives
Archives of the first eco art museum online.


Acqs of Interest

Weintraub, Linda. What’s Next? : Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art . Bristol, UK ;: Intellect, 2019.
HUNT STACKS-4  N6498 .E26 W45 2019

Cheetham, Mark, A. Landscape into ecoart: articulations of nature since the '60sUniversity Park, Pennsylvania : The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018
HUNT N8217 .E28 C49 2018


Hessler, Stefanie, ed. Tidalectics: Imagining an ocenanic worldview through art and scienceLondon, England : TBA21-Academy ; Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, 2018
HUNT QH541.5 .S3 T53 2018


Rabate, Jean-Michel. Rust. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018.
HUNT TA418.74 .R324 2018

Gadanho, Pedro, ed. Eco-visionaries: Art, Architecture and New Media after the Anthropocene. Berlin: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2018.

Davis, Heather, M.; Turpin, Etienne.  Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics Environments and Epistemologies. London: Open Humanities Press, 2015.

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 or Ecoartnetwork Resources List for more comprehensive listing of books, articles, exhibition catalogs, artists projects and community efforts related to art and the environment.


Weintraub, Linda. What’s Next? : Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art . Bristol, UK ;: Intellect, 2019.
HUNT STACKS-4  N6498 .E26 W45 2019
A survey of forty international artists representing an emerging cultural phenomenon named "Eco Materialism" which considers materiality within the framework of ecological thinking. Includes many visuals, charts and questionnaires, a "Reader Interaction" section after each chapter and suggested readings.


Brown, Andrew. Art & ecology now. London: Thames & Hudson, 2014.
HUNT STACKS-4 (Stacks 4th Floor)
N8217 .E28 B76 2014


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 and E-book

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.


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."


Art Journals:Special Issues


Public Art Dialogue
Collaborating with Nature and the Environment
Vol 9:2 2019

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.

Systems thinking

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.

Lippard, Lucy. Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. New York : New Press, 1997.
HUNT STACKS-2 GF503 .L56 1997
A wandering and brilliant book on art, society, ecology and why a sense of place makes a difference.

Exhibition catalogs

ground works: Environmental Collaboration in Contemporary Art
, Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University, 2005.
HUNT STACKS-4 N6494 .E6 G7 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.

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 in the 1990s.

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.


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 educators.

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 imagination.
Article Online

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 Ishmael is also recommended.
HUNT-STACKS-2 PS3567 .U338 .I8 1995 and PS3567 .U4 M9 1997

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 Architecture Source (formerly Art Source)

ArtBibliographies Modern

Arts: Search (Design)

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance

Performing Arts Periodicals Database (formerly IIPA: International Index to the Performing Arts)


For more databases try:
Databases for Art
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries Databases A-Z

The Environment: A Multidisciplinary Research Guide


Shohei Katayama, CMU 2019 graduating MFA Art student was awarded the MTV RE:DEFINE Art Award for  Kintsukuroi | Golden Repair which he created during an Arctic residency with scientists and educators. Yayoi re-envisioned the Japanese ceramic tradition of kintsukuroi — repairing broken pottery with gold —  by laying a temporary installation with emergency blankets to “mend” a fractured glacier.

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

CMU Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion

Featured Initiatives
Goal: " see to the design and construction of public art installations that uniquely combine aesthetics with utility-scale clean energy generation."

The Art & Activism of the Anthropocene series

@ New York Society Library

Don't Shoot the Messenger: The Challenging Narratives of Climate Change (April 11) with William T. Vollmann, Chantal Bilodeau, and David Wallace-Wells; Strange Reality: The Art and Activism of Transitional Environments (April 19) with Jeff VanderMeer, Zaria Forman, Gleb Raygorodetsky, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz; Imagining the Impossible: The Role of Art and Novels in Understanding Climate Change (May 9) with Amitav Ghosh, Helen Phillips, and Nathan Kensinger

Carnegie Museum of Art Pittsburgh



Carnegie Nexus Becoming Migrant 2018



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.