What can art learn from ecology?

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum panel to examine “A Sustainable Future” Oct. 27

What can art learn from ecology?

It’s a question posed both implicitly and explicitly by visionary artist Tomás Saraceno. Inspired by clouds, bubbles, spider webs and other natural structures, Saraceno’s utopian projects range from an elevator to space and instructions for building a geodesic solar balloon to a sustainable airborne city that renders obsolete the very idea of an “environmental footprint.”

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will present “A Sustainable Future,” an interdisciplinary panel discussion held in conjunction with the exhibition Tomás Saraceno: Cloud Specific.

Moderated by Eric Mumford, professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the discussion will explore conceptual concerns raised by Saraceno’s artistic practice, which frequently involves collaboration with architects, engineers, chemists, botanists and physicists, among others.

Topics will include the scientific, cultural and aesthetic dimensions of sustainability today as well as the legacy of the utopian impulse in contemporary art and architecture. In addition, participants will discuss their own current research and how it relates to larger questions of environmental and social sustainability.

Participants are:

  • Joseph Jez, PhD, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences;
  • Lutz Koepnick, PhD, professor of Germanic languages and literatures 
in Arts & Sciences;
  • Meredith Malone, PhD, associate curator, Kemper Art Museum;
  • Igor Marjanovic, associate professor of architecture, Sam Fox School; and
  • Brent Williams, PhD,assistant professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering.

“A Sustainable Future” is free and open to the public and will take place in Steinberg Hall Auditorium. A reception will follow, at 6:30 p.m., in the Kemper Art Museum.

Tomás Saraceno: Cloud Specific remains on view through Jan. 9, 2012. Regular museum hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The museum is closed Tuesdays.

Steinberg Hall and the Kemper Art Museum are located adjacent to one another, near the intersection of Skinker and Forsyth boulevards.

For more information, call (314) 935-4523 or visit kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu.

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, part of Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, is committed to furthering critical thinking and visual literacy through a vital program of exhibitions, publications and accompanying events. The museum dates back to 1881, making it the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River. Today, it boasts one of the finest university collections in the United States.


WHO: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

WHAT: “A Sustainable Future” panel discussion

WHEN: 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27. Reception 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Steinberg Hall Auditorium, intersection of Forsyth and Skinker boulevards. Reception in Kemper Art Museum.

COST: Free and open to the public.

SPONSOR: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

INFORMATION: (314) 935-4523 or kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu