Miami Art Week 2019: Exhibitions On Sustainability

Three comprehensive art installations that asked viewers to consider the future of their surroundings

If artists, curators and gallerists all work from a place of expression, tackling subject matter that’s gripping their attention, there are few topics as personal—and universal—as our planet. This Miami Art Week was far from the first to address sustainability, but three large-scale installations handled several sub-topics with the necessary balance of intelligence, action and emotional drive. Further, in an industry of excessive packaging, disposable components and general wastefulness, the following exhibitions were built from pieces that will have a life long after the week’s end.

by David Graver

Conversations with Nature

Away from the congestion of Miami Beach, Albie Alexander‘s Conversations with Nature exhibition flourished in the open-air public plazas and secluded storefronts of Brickell City Centre. Alexander, previously the founding creative director behind Refinery29’s 29Rooms, curated an impactful series of thought- and dialogue-provoking interventions. Sarah MeyohasCloud of Petals film paired her signature visuals (100,000 unique rose petals morphing into and out of one another) with narration by Greta Thunberg. One floor below, “Inner Landscapes” offered an otherworldly experience anchored by Brittany Asch of BRRCH‘s fantastical tree, presented in conjunction with original poetry from Yrsa Daley-Ward, who narrates from the perspective of Mother Earth. Altogether, Alexander weaves meditative experiences with calls to action, in homage to the fragile beauty of our planet.

Courtesy of the Ritchie King Jr.

Museum of Plastic

Lonely Whale‘s latest impactful pop-up opened in The Miami Beach EDITION for Miami Art Week. Brand wide, the EDITION’s STAY PLASTIC FREE campaign bans single-use plastics and mirrors Lonely Whale’s Question How You Hydrate initiative. Inside the Museum of Plastic, visitors traced the wasteful path of a single-use plastic water bottle. Artistic visual representations—like a floor-to-ceiling receipt that proclaimed the amount of money lost on single-use plastic water bottles—certainly illustrated the crisis. But group presentations in the space, including one from designer Heron Preston on alternatives for plastic polybags, sustainable solutions in fashion and a partnership with HP, drove real-time interactions.

Courtesy of Silvia Ros

Instagram + Studio Swine at DesignMiami/

Within the walls of DesignMiami/, Instagram‘s @design installation abandoned the typical three-wall booth in favor of several 100% recyclable PVC bubbles by Studio Swine. Affixed to or presented inside of these lightweight, versatile displays, @design highlighted four future-forward projects: Yona Care’s redesigned speculum, ALLELES Design Studio’s prosthetic leg covers, Deva Pardue’s viral protest illustration and a computer by Kano that anyone can build at home. Of course, the whimsicality of the immersive exhibit aimed to please, but the careful concern for each and every design component—versatility and transportability, included—set it at another level.

Hero image courtesy of Conversations> with Nature