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The art world's big planetary problem

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece in the Japan Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The Mori Art Museum's exhibit "Our Ecology: Toward a Planetary Living" has sparked a crucial conversation in the art world about the industry's unsustainable practices
The exhibition, featuring Akiko Fujita's large-scale clay sculptures in Tokoname, Japan, contrasts the ecological themes in art with the art sector's heavy reliance on air travel and large-scale exhibitions, contributing significantly to carbon emissions

🔭 The context: Recent years have seen a growing awareness among art institutions of their role in climate change
The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for inward reflection, leading to actions like Tate declaring a "climate emergency" and achieving a 60% reduction in carbon emissions

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The art sector's high carbon footprint is at odds with the environmental themes often portrayed in the artworks
As a cultural influencer, the industry faces a unique challenge to align its practices with its social messaging responsibilities

⏭️ What's next: A shift in mentality is emerging, with initiatives like more sustainable energy use in museums and galleries, and exploration of sea freight and alternate packaging for art transportation
• However, awareness remains low, with a need for influential figures in the art world to champion sustainability

💬 One quote: "For the art scene, every gallery or museum must involve a plane. If you’re going to an art fair, if you're going to sell a painting, invariably you’ve got to get on a plane" (Roger McDonald, Arts Initiative Tokyo)

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