State of the art

A growing number of artists are turning to the Anthropocene for inspiration. Here, I’ve brought together several artists who explicitly reference the concept for the first online Anthropocene Exhibition.

All images kindly reproduced with the permission of the artists. 

Image: Radhika Gupta

Some years ago, a celebrity chef in the UK proclaimed cooking had attained the status of high art. Art critic Brian Sewell quipped that the day a Michelin-starred meal could be described as “profoundly disturbing” was the day these chefs could call themselves artists. Sewell was right to ridicule. Art has an emotional impact like no other.

Among many other things. the concept of the Anthropocene is profoundly disturbing. If the Anthropocene was simply a matter of geological classification it would remain hidden in a distant corner of dusty academia. Instead, the word captures who we are. It captures how far we have come. It separates us from all previous generations. It helps us make sense of our world and our new responsibility. The concept is beyond geological hair-splitting. Artists have struck a rich vein.

Not all the artists here would describe themselves as artists. 

Félix Pharand-Deschênes

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Félix Pharand-Deschênes is an anthropologist and data visualizer living in Canada. He is founder of Globaïa. (Felix is also a close collaborator and friend of the author.)

David Thomas Smith

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Image: David Thomas Smith

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Image: David Thomas Smith

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Image: David Thomas Smith

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Image: David Thomas Smith

David Thomas Smith biosphere 2

Image: David Thomas Smith

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Image: David Thomas Smith

David Thomas Smith is an Irish documentary photographer. More.

Stephen Walter

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Image: Stephen Walter

Stephen Walter lives and works in London. In July 2013, Walter’s solo exhibition Anthropocene opened at the Londonewcastle Project Space in London. More. 

Jason deCairesTaylor

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Image: Jason deCairesTaylor

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Image: Jason deCairesTaylor

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Image: Jason deCairesTaylor

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Image: Jason deCairesTaylor

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Image: Jason deCairesTaylor

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Image: Jason deCairesTaylor

Jason de Caires Taylor is based in Cancun, Mexico and combines diving with sculpture. The sculptures pictured here have been designed to be assimilated into the environment and will eventually promote coral reef growth and so challenging the viewer to see the positive attributes in humanity’s creativity in the Anthropocene. More.

Radhika Gupta

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Radhika Gupta

Radhika Gupta is a recent graduate in design from the Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore, and is based in India. More.

John Stockton

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Image: John Stockton

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Image: John Stockton

John Stockton is an artist based in Nottingham, England. The images above come from his “Cartritus” collection. They are formed from objects found on roadside verges that have been discarded, ejected or otherwise fallen off cars and other vehicles. More.

LandSat

landsat garden city Kansas landsat bolivian deforestation NASA’s LandSat Earth as Art courtesy of the US Geological Survey.