Alaska Oil Spill Project
"Last summer, the twenty-first anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, artist Carole Fisher returned to the Alakan coast. She interviewed fifty residents of the Valdez area about the oil spill and the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Her gallery exhibition, Sticks in the Mind: Alaska Oil Spill Project 1989–2011, interprets and references these experiences.
Sticks in the Mind: Alaska Oil Spill Project 1989–2011
Friday, January 14 – Sunday, February 20
Friday, January 21, 6:00 p.m.
Monday, January 24, 6:30 p.m.
Carole Fisher talks with Patience Andersen Faulkner, activist and Alaska native, and Brian O’Neill, a partner at Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis and the trial lawyer in charge of litigating the Exxon Valdez oil spill case."
- Review from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Mary Abby from the Star and Tribune wrote this --> found at this link, http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/art/113467359.html?page=1&c=y that I copied and pasted.
it is not mine.
The midnight accident dumped 10.8 million gallons of oil into the cold sea and eventually soiled 1,300 miles of shoreline. Despite four years of cleanup efforts by 10,000 workers at a cost of $2.1 billion, the Valdez disaster lingers. Bigger spills have happened elsewhere since then, but none caused more extensive or lasting environmental damage.
You don't do "issue art" on a short timeline, and artist Carole Fisher has no attention-deficit disorder. After two decades she is still bulldogging the Exxon Valdez. It has been the catalyst for more than 25 of her art installations nationwide, the most recent opening Friday at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). "Sticks in the Mind: Alaska Oil Spill Project, 1989-2011," which runs through Feb. 20, is a three-dimensional collage of words, images, brochures, film and video footage, interviews and memorabilia related to the Valdez incident and more recent environmental episodes including the 2010 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Oil spills happen everywhere, so why do I focus on this one?" Fisher asked rhetorically. "Because Alaska is the grand land, and we need to preserve it."
The MCAD show will include a sample of Valdez oil gathered this past summer by a research vessel working in Prince William Sound. Even though sun, wind and countless storms have battered the shores, pockets of oil are still lodged in the crevices, potentially poisoning wildlife and ruining the coastline for fishers, hunters and tourists.
"It smells like a gas station," Fisher said. "It's on the beaches and in the sediment. It leaches into the water continually because of the wave action."
"I thought it was too late to just paint, and I began to think of more temporal and situational work that was based in the public sphere or came from that," she said.
As the daughter of a welder who was also a union organizer, Fisher grew up in a south Minneapolis house where strikes and labor actions were often discussed and social activism was expected. Over the years, her work has addressed such volatile topics as rape, incest, toxic waste sites, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and even the U.S. Army's secret spraying in the 1950s of her childhood neighborhood with zinc cadmium, a known carcinogen. She learned later that the Army had been testing fallout patterns of airborne materials in anticipation of a possible germ-warfare attack. But as a kid, she just thought it was cool that the snow sometimes turned pink without realizing that the color came from toxic chemicals. "And, of course, we played in it and ate it the way kids do," she said.
For Fisher and other artists, the challenge of the 1970s was to translate issues into aesthetic statements that would move and inform people without hectoring. The oil-saturated creatures of the Valdez disaster proved especially potent and mutable. In various installations she has garnished the walls with huge silhouettes of birds, animals or people painted in broad black streaks that suggest oil stains.
She adapts her material to each setting, sometimes littering the floor with a maze of electrical cords to remind visitors of their energy dependence. Or setting up house-shaped displays or incorporating piles of oil debris. This past summer she and an assistant spent several weeks in Alaska, interviewing and photographing more than 50 environmentalists, fishermen, park rangers, hoteliers, naturalists and others about Valdez and the 2010 Gulf spill. Having spoken with many of the same people on previous visits, she was able to elicit thoughtful reflections and heartfelt insights into the tragedy. Transcripts of the interviews will be included along with poetic wall texts that weave interview excerpts, facts and figures into an evocative palimpsest of memory, incident and even policy issues.
"I'm not a scientist," she said. "I take it in and put it back out. I just think we are interested in each other's stories."
And what of the Exxon Valdez tanker itself?
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