‘You are the proud owner of great swaths of this nations arctic/alpine tundra, grasslands, prairies, deserts, and forests that are coniferous, deciduous, and tropical, along with an array of aquatic ecosystems.’
– Linda Weintraub (from the essay Strategies/Tragedies of the Commons, written for the Whale Oil to Whole Foods exhibition, 2012)
Yesterday I took a trip to the nearby rustic town of Catskill and visited the ‘mother’ exhibition of the Whale Oil to Whole Foods eco-arts festival-project. Greene County Council Arts (GCCA) is based in a small two-storey gallery space on the main street of the town.
The group exhibition is both beautiful and provocative – the fruitful result of a sensitive curatorial collaboration between Fawn Potash and Christy Rupp. Featuring the work of 25 artists the exhibition unites poetic, political, earthy artworks in diverse media which address and explore the economic and ecological histories and possible futures of the Hudson Valley and the Catskill region of New York State.
‘Whale oil was an essential food for First Nations of the Northwest. The Nootka ate it even with strawberries. Europeans, however, had industrial uses for the oil of the whale… …the fat of the whale helped humans measure the progress of time.’
– Sparrow (from the essay The History of Whale Oil, written for the Whale Oil to Whole Foods exhibition, 2012)