Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press)

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9783956790942: Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (Sternberg Press)
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A study of the intersecting fields of art history, ecology, visual culture, geography, and environmental politics.

While ecology has received little systematic attention within art history, its visibility and significance has grown in relation to the threats of climate change and environmental destruction. By engaging artists' widespread aesthetic and political engagement with environmental conditions and processes around the globe―and looking at cutting-edge theoretical, political, and cultural developments in the Global South and North―Decolonizing Nature offers a significant, original contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, ecology, visual culture, geography, and environmental politics. Art historian T. J. Demos, author of Return to the Postcolony: Specters of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (2013), considers the creative proposals of artists and activists for ways of life that bring together ecological sustainability, climate justice, and radical democracy, at a time when such creative proposals are urgently needed.

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About the Author:

T. J. Demos is a Lecturer in the Department of History of Art, University College London and the author of The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp (MIT Press, 2007). His essays have appeared in such journals as Artforum, Grey Room, October, and Texte zur Kunst.

Review:

Demos's ability to distill and interrelate heterogeneous discourses, practices, and eco-political contexts, without flattening them in the process, is a breathtaking feat and, moreover, one that rises to the demands of his complex and urgent subject. As clear in its argumentation as it is dense with information, the meat of this book lies in its detailed discussion of specific artworks and the environmental struggles from which they emerge and to which they ambitiously, and often brilliantly, respond. Decolonizing Nature makes a forceful case for why and how art matters, now more than ever.

Emily Eliza Scott, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich, and coeditor of Critical Landscapes: Art, Space, Politics

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