Zurkow combines environmental themes with popular culture to create artworks that are both playful and thought provoking.

Dear Climate Posters
Dear Climate, 2014
Zurkow along with Una Chaudhuri, Oliver Kellhammer, Fritz Ertl, and Sarah Rothberg create soundscapes and agitprop posters that highlight the fears and desires associated with climate change. The group presents their posters to the climate with an open letter:

Dear Climate,

These broadsheets, really just bits of paper, are our missive, our small odes of affection and awe, and our self-helpful hints that have been scattered by our whirlwinds. They are our apologies, our jest and protest, our bright ideas, bad ideas, and mental quick fixes. We’d like to make amends, to start by shifting relations: with you, with other species, and our own tempestuous inner climate, too.

If you’ll accept them, dear Climate, these offerings will seal our promise to meet the terrors ahead and build the tolerances they will demand.1

Dear Climate Posters

Poster Child
Poster Child, 2007
In this animated installation, Zurkow merges icons of climate change and American gun culture. A polar bear and unclothed, pink children inhabit an Arctic seascape—they ride melting icebergs on a shimmering ocean littered with electronic waste. Both bear and children could be seen as symbols of innocence and vulnerability, but Zurkow subverts these associations with images of violence. The children carry guns that they enthusiastically fire into the air; the bear tears into the flesh of prey she’s recently caught—blood stains her paws and the ice floe she rides. In Zurkow’s animation, the bear and children oscillate between aggressor and victim.2 They perhaps represent our own difficult position in the midst of climate change—our daily habits contribute to global warming and environmental degradation and we also suffer the consequences of unstable weather patterns and economic dislocation.

Poster Child

See Zurkow’s website.

1 Dear Climate website.
2 Linda Weintraub, To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012), 314-318.


Chin works as an artist and community activist. His collaborative projects combine pragmatic solutions to real-world problems with aesthetic and conceptual experiments.

Revival Field, 1991
Chin took inspiration from botanist Rufus Chaney’s research on hyperaccumulator plants—plants that pull heavy metals from the soil. For Revival Field, Chin planted hyperaccumaltors at Pig’s Eye Landfill, a contaminated Superfund site in St. Paul, MN. The project was conceived as a scientific experiment that asked: Can plants remove soil toxins? It was also an eco-art sculpture that highlighted the potential to remedy polluted environments.1

Operation Paydirt, 2006-Present
After hurricane Katrina stuck New Orleans, Chin decided he could help the city recover by focusing his attention on the high levels of lead in the city’s older neighborhoods. Before the hurricane hit, thirty to fifty percent of the neighborhoods’ children suffered from lead poisoning. Lead poisoning affects brain development, damages the nervous system and kidneys, and leads to behavioral problems.2 When Chin discovered that remediation of the soil in New Orleans would cost $300 million, he created Fundred—an art project that encourages children and their families to create art works in the shape of hundred dollar bills. Chin collects the Fundreds and plans to present them to Congress as a symbolic gesture that raises awareness of lead contamination and asks the government to appropriate funds to remedy the problem. Chin sees the New Orleans project as the first step in a bigger project that aims to remediate contaminated soil in cities across the U.S.3

Operation Paydirt and Fundred

See Mel Chin’s website.

1“Mel Chin in Conversation with Fareed Armaly and Ute Meta Bauer,” in Nature, ed. Jeffrey Kastner, (London, UK: Whitechapel Gallery Ventures Limited, 2012), 174-176.
2Operation Paydirt: About.
3Linda Weintraub, To Life! Eco Art in Pursuit of a Sustainable Planet, “Mel Chin: Soil Remediation,” (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012), 135-140.


Helen and Newton Harrison map the effects of climate change and explore ways to rehabilitate damaged ecosystems.

Wilma the Pig, 2012
A pig wanders around an indoor meadow planted in LA's Museum of Contemporary Art. The project re-creates a similar piece titled Hog Pasture first realized in 1970 at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. In its first instantiation, the Boston Museum refused to let a pig play a part in the exhibit.

Helen Harrison discusses the audience's encounter with the work: "All of a sudden people are looking at the environment in one way or another. And they're looking differently. In other words, it's bringing their attention in a way that is meaningful; they're enjoying it."1

Greenhouse Britain, 2007-2009
Projected images trace Britain's shrinking coastline as the seas rise. The images delineated eight future coastal boundaries; each one displaying the effects of an additional two-meter increase in sea level. The UK's rivers expand and coastline recedes at each stage of the sea's invasion.

Beyond documenting the changes to Britain's coastline, the project also proposes a variety of architectural, economic, and environmental solutions to reduce the impact of surging tides. The Harrisons write: "One key element in this work responds to the fact that the waters will rise gracefully, posing the questions, 'How might one withdraw with equal grace?' and 'How might one defend against the ocean’s rise?'"2

See more at the Harrison's studio website.

1The Harrison Studio presents Wilma the Pig
2Greenhouse Britain, The Harrison Studio