Museum of Craft and Design opens new exhibitions exploring issues of climate change

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Museum of Craft and Design opens new exhibitions exploring issues of climate change
Linda Gass, Severely Burned: Impact of the Rim Fire on the Tuolumne, River Watershed, 2015. Photograph by Don Tuttle.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- This winter, the Museum of Craft and Design will present two new, dynamic exhibitions exploring the ways that creative individuals are addressing issues of climate change. Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience is a timely exhibition showcasing visionary architects and artists who have created artistically interpretive solutions and prototypes for emergency shelters in a climate-constrained world. Concurrently, the exhibition Linda Gass: and then this happened… will examine the human-made and natural water infrastructure affecting the greater Bay Area, considering present and future challenges with respect to climate change.

Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience - December 19, 2019–May 3, 2020.
Guest curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg of Art Works for Change (AWFC) this exhibition follows the idea that addressing climate change must include ensuring durable, long-term housing solutions for vulnerable populations. For example, participating artist Tina Hovsepian’s Cardborigami (2016) installation showcases her lightweight and sustainable cardboard shelters that are big enough for two people to sleep in and can fold small enough to carry. In a similar vein, the projects and design concepts in the exhibition highlight how we need to rethink and develop robust housing designs that are flexible, resilient, and adaptable to survive the future effects of a changing environment.

The exhibition aims to make concepts accessible to a general audience and to address climate change through four centralized themes that reflect key characteristics about survival architecture: Circular—the importance of creating structures made of materials that can be used and reused indefinitely; Portable—the ability to create easily moveable and nomadic dwellings; Visionary—forward-thinking ideas that can radically change the way we think about shelter; and Resilient—structures that can adapt to adverse and dynamic circumstances.

Science, technology, architecture, and art converge within the exhibition to question the nature of what it means to survive climate change and natural disasters. How do we design and retrofit our built world to adapt to increased uncertainty and do it affordably? How do we produce dwellings that have a full life cycle of durability pre-, during, and post-disaster?

Climate change represents a vastly different kind of environmental challenge, requiring out-of-the-box thinking in how we adapt to and survive the expected onslaught of extreme weather and other disruptions,” said Rosenberg. “Artists are uniquely adept at re-envisioning our world and how we relate to it, as this exhibition shows.”

Participating artists and studios include Andrew Maynard Architecture, Alejandro Aravena, Vincent Callebaut, Davison Design, Tina Hovsepian, IKEA Foundation, Chris Jordan, Liam Kelly, Thomas L. Kelly, Jingyang Liu Leo, Mary Mattingly, Achim Menges, Gerard Minakawa, William McDonough and Partners, Peta Fend and Malgorzata Pawlowska, The Empowerment Plan, Journeyman Pictures, Pedro Reyes, Phil Ross, Terreform ONE and Mitchell Joachim, Tomas Saraceno, Kevin Jin He and Won Ryu, and ZO-Loft Architecture and Design.

Linda Gass: and then this happened… - December 19, 2019–May 3, 2020.
Multimedia artist Linda Gass creates stitched paintings and works in glass questioning water and land use issues in California. Informed and inspired by her extensive research on the impact of changing waterways, sea-level rise, fire, and drought in California and the American West, Gass’s work uses beauty to shed light on these challenging issues.

Evoking both topographical maps and comforting textiles, Gass’s work brings to light the incongruence between the safety of individual homes, and the devastating effect environmental manipulation has on the natural ecological processes of our collective home, California. Divided into four themed topics, the artwork in this exhibition reflect how sea-level rise, man-made waterways, rain/snowpack loss, and wildfire changes over time. Gass includes work that is hyperlocal in context, including three new sea-level rise artworks focused on the Dogpatch neighborhood where MCD is located. This series shows three aerial street views of Dogpatch: as it looks today, how it would change after the impact of three feet of sea-level rise and the devastation after six feet of sea-level rise. Another localized piece, Severely Burned (2014) represents the impact of the 2013 Rim Fire on the Tuolumne River Watershed, which provides drinking water for the City of San Francisco and many other Bay Area cities.

Gass comments, “Our current water infrastructure was designed during an era when our climate was more stable and the average annual rainfall was higher than it is now. Human development has permanently altered and destroyed much of our natural water infrastructures such as wetlands and watersheds. My textile, glass, and mixed-media artworks address these concerns–how our infrastructure and development policies are failing under climate chaos–and invite the viewer to ponder the question ‘what can we do better?'”

Linda Gass
Bay Area artist and environmental activist Linda Gass is best known for her labor-intensive stitched paintings about land use and water issues in California and the American West. She graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Mathematics and MS in Computer Science and has been creating art for more than 20 years after a decade-long career in software. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and in Europe and Russia, at venues including the Oakland Museum, the Bellevue Arts Museum and the US Embassy in Moscow. Gass’s work has been written about in The San Francisco Chronicle, National Geographic’s All Over the Map: A Cartographic Odyssey, 500 Art Quilts, The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, Why We Quilt: Contemporary Makers Speak Out about the Power of Art, Activism, Community and Creativity, and American Craft as well as other publications.

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