Past Exhibitions

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Production, consumption, and alternative economies
May 22 - September 4, 2014

We face an urgent problem: our current consumption patterns outstrip our planet’s available resources, and yet our society continues to produce massive amounts of cheap, disposable goods. With its complex history as a center of international commerce, radical politics, technological innovation, and cultural experimentation, the Bay Area is uniquely positioned to help solve this problem. Reimagining Progress features local artists powerfully critiquing our unsustainable status quo, exploring our society’s relationship to production, consumption, and waste while proposing alternatives that balance valuing people and planet with financial profit.

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Information Artworks by Douglas Gayeton
February 6 - May 7, 2014

Can we meet our country's growing agricultural demands in a way that honors our earth? The David Brower Center explores the language of resilience in our winter 2014 exhibit, a multi-platform project featuring the work of Douglas Gayeton that uses photography, film, ethnography, and crowdsourcing techniques to uncover the terms and principles that characterize “sustainability,” a popular term with a sometimes slippery definition. At a time when our country’s commercial agriculture operation is causing major environmental degradation by polluting our waterways, contributing to deforestation, or poisoning wildlife with pesticides, a sustainable sea change in the industry is called for. This important exhibit sheds light on changemakers across the country who are reshaping our food culture and working to develop a healthier, safer, and more sustainable system nationwide.

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Richard Misrach and Kate Orff
September 12, 2013 - January 26, 2014

Every autumn, the Brower Center presents the Art/Act Exhibition, an award presented to an artist who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement at the convergence of art and activism. This year, we honor celebrated photographer Richard Misrach. Based on the book Petrochemical America (Aperture 2012), the exhibit highlights the unique collaboration between Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff/SCAPE. Presented in an open studio format, this project brings into focus the complex economic and ecological forces that have shaped the industrial landscapes of the Mississippi River’s “Cancer Alley,” mapping cycles of resource extraction and transformation from a local to a global scale.

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May 16 - August 30, 2013

We live in a digital age, in which video chatting with someone in another country is often easier than visiting a friend across town. At the same time, we rely on physical spaces to facilitate connection and meaning — whether through a game of basketball at the YMCA, a visit to a village market, or a movement such as Occupy. What role do face-to face relationships play in today’s society, and how can we become closer in a world that privileges communication at a distance? The Brower Center is pleased to present the works of 20 local artists investigating these questions in our second juried show.

 
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A Study in Biodiversity
February 7 - May 8, 2013

The natural world is in a state of constant flux. It seems that more and more often, we hear about the decline of yet another precious animal or plant species and the subsequent efforts to protect it from extinction.  Our greatest opportunity to make conservation a priority is through widespread awareness and visual art is just such a channel through which to convey the message. 
Featured artists Isabella Kirkland and Jeffrey Long employ different techniques, but converge in their commitment to capturing elements of nature in order to shed light on the ecological challenges we face.  The result is a vivid and eye-opening exhibition opening this February in the Hazel Wolf Gallery.

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Laura Cunningham
September 13, 2012 - January 30, 2013

What was California like centuries ago, before we entered the mix? Which ecological processes did our presence interrupt? What became of the wildlife that once roamed free? Artist, scientist and celebrated pioneer of historical ecology Laura Cunningham has spent a large part of her career attempting to answer these puzzling questions. The result is a striking array of illustrations, sketches, and murals that will be featured in Cunningham’s first solo exhibition at the David Brower Center.

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Art, Advocacy, and the Legacy of David Brower
May 17 - August 31, 2012

Environmentalist, mountaineer and visionary David R. Brower changed the way our society thinks about natural places and, consequently, changed the world. In the year he would have been 100, we celebrate his legacy of activism with a special summer exhibition. The show features the exhibit format books pioneered by Brower, who believed that if people could experience natural places through powerful imagery, they would feel a greater sense of responsibility for protecting them.

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Works by Amy Franceschini and Fernando García-Dory
February 9 - May 9, 2012

Communities around the world have been broken apart by land development, the disappearance of tradition, and stark differences in values around land use. From farming and seed libraries to the livelihood of nomadic shepherds … what does “preservation” mean when it comes to tradition, land, and knowledge?

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Miniature Surveys in Biodiversity, Photographs by David Liittschwager
September 15, 2011 - January 27, 2012

How much life grows or passes, on land or sea, through one cubic foot of space? To find out, and to record the concentrates of biodiversity that occupy such a space, the photographer David Liittschwager and a group of scientists have been recording whatever appeared in an open green metal frame over the course of a normal day. Since 2006, five habitats have been examined: a coral reef crest in Moorea, French Polynesia; a mountain Fynbos in South Africa; leaf litter in New York’s Central Park; a freshwater river bottom in the Duck River, Tennessee; and a cloud forest canopy of Monte Verde, Costa Rica.

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Bay Area Artists Envision the Future
June 16, 2011 - September 2, 2011

The Brower Center asked Bay Area artists to respond to David Brower’s quote: “Have a good time saving the world. Otherwise, you’re just going to depress yourself.” With over 500 submissions, we were inspired by the sheer breadth of the work. From traditional painting to installation to the conceptual avant-garde, this show is a powerful indicator of how pervasive social, environmental, and political concerns are among artists and the community at large. We hope that these 22 works — imaginative, contemplative, and playful — will also inspire our visitors to consider how we will all live in the future.

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Daniel McCormick
January 27 - May 11, 2011

Daniel McCormick has practiced ecological art for 25 years, installing sculptural works in damaged natural environments to effect positive ecological change. His ephemeral artworks of organic materials are used as silt traps and erosion control weavings, and are intended to evolve and recede from view over time. In the rare solo exhibition at the Hazel Wolf Gallery in 2011, McCormick brought the methods and materials of his outdoor works inside. The show featured installations of restoration materials, sculptures made with techniques he used in the field, and preparatory drawings for various projects.

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Chris Jordan
September 13, 2010 - January 7, 2011

In Chris Jordan’s series Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait, begun in 2005, the artist represented the staggering statistics of American consumption. Two million bottles were depicted in a larger-than-human-scale digital photograph entitled Plastic Bottles, 2007, literally representing the number of plastic beverage bottles used in the United States every five minutes. In Oil Barrels, 2008, 28,000 barrels were presented in a mandala-like formation of concentric circles, recalling the volume of oil burned in the United States every two minutes.

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Images of the Global Effort to Defend Rivers and Human Rights
June 10 - August 27, 2010

The result of an international collaboration, the David Brower Center’s current exhibition is an homage to those who fight to defend rivers and the people who depend on them. With striking imagery by celebrated photographers such as Robert Dawson, “Water, Rivers and People” shows inspiring examples of rivers that have been protected by citizen action, as well as community-led efforts to provide water for people in affordable, sustainable and effective ways.

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Photographs By David Maisel
February 10 - May 21, 2010

In 2001, David Maisel photographed at Owens Lake, once a 200-square-mile lake on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in California. The resulting Lake Project offers stunning aerial images of a fertile valley transformed into an arid stretch of land. As a stunning work of both art and advocacy, The Lake Project helped to contribute to public awareness and mitigation efforts over the last nine years.

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Photographs by Sebastião Salgado
May 14, 2009 - January 31, 2010

 This exhibition presented a selection of images spanning a career in documentary photography by renowned Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.  His images tell the story of an era, tracing the human and environmental impacts of modern industrial civilization through the lives of workers, the rural poor and the displaced. These powerful photographs were selected from Salgado’s long term projects: Other Americas, Sahel, the End of the Road, Workers, Migrations and Africa.  Also on view were select images from his “work in progress,” Genesis, which began in 2004 and will be completed in 2011. These images reveal nature – landscapes, flora, fauna and human settlements – in its earliest state. May 14, 2009 - January 31, 2010

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