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Balance: Art and Nature, Revised Edition (edition 2003)

by John Grande

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Title:Balance: Art and Nature, Revised Edition
Authors:John Grande
Info:Black Rose Books (2003), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 285 pages
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Tags:landscape architecture, Art and Ecology, modern art

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Balance: Art and Nature, Revised Edition by John K. Grande

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BALANCE: ART AND NATURE is a granddaddy of the Eco-art movement. Its text, full of richly ordered art-speak, articulates the need to tilt away from a market-driven art establishment, and seek the relocation of human culture within the context of nature. Eco-artists such as Anish Kapoor, Armand Vaillancourt, James Carl, Kevin Kelly and Antony Gormley rate stand-alone chapters. Grande, a Canadian by heritage, was born in Sri Lanka and developed his world view via postings in his diplomatic father's career to South Africa, Norway and Great Britain. The book marks the philosophical odyssey of an early ecological activist from the 1970's to the present and draws on a series of reviews and features that initially appeared in such publications as "Artforum International," "Canadian Forum," "Espace Sculpture," "International Sculpture" and "Vie des Arts." This Eco-art text contains 30 black and white illustrations, copious footnotes and a sturdy index.

An artist's legacy is of peerless value for the commercially encumbered artists. Andy Warhol, for example, has his very own museum in Pittsburgh. But for the environmental artist, near invisibility holds its own fascination. Grande recounts numerous examples to support his thesis. In a story about Andy Goldsworthy, animals run over, jump into, or actually nibble projects, thus forcing the artist to suspend his work. In another example, Austrian- and now New Zealand-based artist Hendrik Hundertwasser's organic petrol station in Vienna is cited. This colorfully painted station is located under roofs of grass and trees under which cars pull in and fill up. But perhaps First Nations artist Carl Beam's canvas says it best. Through "Burying the Ruler," Beam hopes to heal the wounds created by contemporary man's tendency to measure and quantify everybody and everything in today's society.

"Universal concerns with the environment, a resurgence of interest in mythology, and the need to replace outdated patriarchal models of society, are all coming into play as artists seek to nurture new forms of their art. Even art's own history is being rejected outright by feminist artists whose vision is not to fill their father's shoes, but to invent an entirely new kind of footwear." p. 23, BALANCE: ART AND NATURE

"The more self-sustaining and permanent a community is, the greater stake people will invest in those communities. Artists can improve our communities by creating interior and exterior fresco projects (a form of art that has not been fully exploited in northern climates)...as well as the preserved wilderness environments we will go to from satellite cities of the future." p. 99, BALANCE: ART AND NATURE
added by joediamond | editRadio Book review -, Weston Blelock (Feb 8, 2010)
 
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Believing that artistic expression "can and does" play an important role in changing the way we perceive our relation to the world we live in, art critic John Grande takes an in-depth look at the work of some very unusual environmental artists in the United States, Canada, and -Europe.

Dealing with everything from materials to the politics of curatorship, from the permanence of art works to the artist's role as cultural critic, "Balance Art and Nature" takes theory into action as it critically examines the works of Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Armand Vaillancourt, Bill Reid, Carl Beam, Kevin Kelly, Ana Mendieta, James Carl, Patrick Dougherty, Keith Haring, and others. What emerges is a viable socio-environmental framework for evaluating contemporary art and insights into art's actual and potential roles.

"Grande's commentaries represent an important contribution to the theory of art."-Claude Levi-Strauss

"A call to reawaken creativity in this time of alienation."-Antony Gormley

"Encourages us to rethink what it means to be an artist in a time of global eco-crisis."-Suzi Gablik, "The Re-enchantment of Art"

"Makes unexpected connections giving new insights into contemporary art."-"Public Art Review"

"Grande's book contains a lot of ideas, all of which are thought-provoking."-"Globe and Mail"

"Details makes this book convincing."-"Books In Canada"

"Grande's ideas and style are fresh, sincere, intuitive, lively and compelling."-"Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics"

"Offers interesting parallels between different aspects of public art."-"Espace Sculptur"

Writer and art critic John Grande's reviews and feature -articles have been published in art magazinesand catalogues internationally. He is author of "Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists" (Black Rose Books), "Nils-Udo: Art with Nature" (Wienand Verlag), and "Art Nature Dialogues" (SUNY Press).
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