Two gallery exhibitions of landmark work from photographer Edward Burtynsky's series Anthropocene, which maps the unprecedented impact of human intervention on Earth, will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from November 14, 2018 – January 5, 2019, and at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery from November 15 – December 29, 2018 in New York. Opening receptions will be held at Howard Greenberg Gallery on Wednesday, November 14, from 6-8 p.m. and at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery on Thursday, November 15, from 6-8 p.m. The artist will be present at both receptions.
Burtynsky's Anthropocene marks the latest addition to his career-spanning investigation into impact of human activity on the environment. The project title refers to a proposal circulating in the scientific community to formally recognize the commencement of a new geological period – the Anthropocene – in which humans are the primary cause of permanent planetary change.
The Anthropocene exhibitions coincide with the release of Burtynsky's sixth Steidl monograph of the same title; his documentary collaboration with filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month; and two museum exhibitions opening September 28, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and at the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada, respectively.
For the Anthropocene project, Burtynsky visited 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, and Nigeria. The exhibitions – with photographs dating from 2012 to 2017 – highlight the artist's visual exploration into the global consequences of coastal erosion, logging, mining, and industrial agriculture with subjects ranging from the surreal lithium evaporation ponds in the Atacama Desert in Chile to the psychedelic potash mines in Russia's Ural Mountains.
For 35 years, Burtynsky's photographic projects have led him around the world, recording the intersection of industrial growth and environmental consciousness. His previous subjects range from urban renewal centers and housing projects to recycling yards, rock quarries, and the skeletons of decommissioned shipping vessels and containers.
"We have reached an unprecedented moment in planetary history," stated Burtynsky. "Humans now arguably change the Earth and its processes more than all other natural forces combined."
Currently under vigorous and passionate international debate, the acceptance of the controversial idea of the Anthropocene would represent a formal recognition and acknowledgement of what Burtynsky, Baichwal, and de Pencier call the "human signature" on the planet.
Edward Burtynsky's works are held in the collections of over 60 major museums around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid; and the National Gallery of Canada. Burtynsky is a recipient of the 2004 TED Prize honoring individuals who have shown they can positively impact life in a global context, as well as the ICP Infinity Award for Art (2008), the Rogers Best Documentary Film Award (2006), The Outreach Award at the Rencontres d'Arles (2004), and the Roloff Beny Book Award (2003). The National Gallery of Canada organized and toured in 2003 the first retrospective of Burtynsky's work, Manufactured Landscapes, which subsequently travelled to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; and the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, at Stanford University. Born in Ontario in 1955, Burtynsky lives and works in Toronto.