The Long View: From Conservation to Sustainability

Works from the Bank of America Collection

Marina Gasolina, 2014
Aurora Robson (American, b. Canada, 1972)
Marina Gasolina, 2014
Plastic debris, aluminum rivets, tinted polycrylic and mica powder 19” x 20” x 9” (48.2 x 50.8 x 22.8 cm) Bank of America Collection
© 2023 Aurora Robson

The Long View: From Conservation to Sustainability | Works from the Bank of America Collection traces the history and impact of the environmental movement through art. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing to the present, the exhibition examines the evolution of our relationship with—and need to protect—the Earth and its inhabitants, and the artists that have played a role in shaping the environmental conversation.

Curators from the Bank of America Arts + Heritage Program originally created The Long View to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and to reaffirm Bank of America’s dedication to financing low-carbon and sustainable business activities across the globe.

The show comprises 88 photographs, paintings, works on paper and sculpture categorized into four thematic sections. The Beginnings of Conservation features artists from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries whose works influenced the environmental movement. Included are John James Audubon, whose painstaking prints of birds and other wildlife inspired the founding of the Audubon Society, and photographer Carleton Watkins, whose vistas of Yosemite gave rise to the founding of the National Park Service.

Push and Pull—Industry and Environment features works from the first half of the twentieth century, including iconic images by photojournalists Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression, when unsustainable farming practices worsened the effect of an extreme draught, a disaster of both natural and human origin.

The Emergence of Conservation Activism focuses on postwar works and the ecology movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. When the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, millions of Americans celebrated this movement dedicated to protecting our world, brought to life in Robert Rauschenberg’s Earth Day poster from the same year. Land artist Michael Heizer’s dialogue with the Earth, reversing geological history by leaving a human imprint, is seen in his Scrap Metal series, 1978, composed of aluminum and zinc waste recycled from California’s aeronautical industry.

In Working Towards a Sustainable Vision, contemporary artists including Richard Misrach, David Maisel, Terry Evans, Andreas Gursky, Ed Burtynsky and collaborative partners Virginia Beahan and Laura McPhee focus our attention on ways humanity has radically transformed the planet, and how we must protect it.

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