Sign of the times along Buffalo Bayou
HOUSTON – June 14, 2019 – With global warming being at the forefront of international discussion, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is pleased to present a conceptual artwork, We Are the Asteroid III, by the Brooklyn artist and environmental activist Justin Brice Guariglia. Using a solar-powered LED message board typically used on roadways, Guariglia shares surprising poetry, metaphor, and humor to break down barriers and enable important conversations about today’s planetary warnings.
As Guariglia notes: “The ecological crisis we face today is the moral imperative of our time. At this critical juncture, art must be used as a positive force for social and political change, and to help open our minds to new possibilities.”
utilizing the LED message board, Guariglia seeks to contrast the audience’s
expectations of the medium. Highway signs can evoke a feeling of tension and
change, typically used at construction sites to caution passers-by and draws
attention to our ecological issues.
“As an organization that cares deeply about the many threats to our environment, We are the Asteroid III is the perfect installation for us to present. This work adds to Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s growing emphasis on public art as a way to communicate the important issues of our time,” says Anne Olson, Buffalo Bayou Partnership President.
Text for We Are the Asteroid III comes from philosopher Timothy Morton, Professor and Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. Morton is considered one of the most important ecological voices in writing today, exploring the intersection of object-oriented thought and ecological studies.
Aphorisms featured in the message board:
WE ARE THE ASTEROID
WARNING: HURRICANE HUMAN
TRIASSIC WEATHER AHEAD
GLOBAL WARMING AT WORK
GOODBYE ARCTIC ICE
THERE IS NO AWAY
NEANDERTHALS ‘R’ US
FOR SYMBIOSIS: REDUCE SPEED NOW
On display through August 31, We are the Asteroid III is located in Buffalo Bayou Park at the Wortham Foundation Grove along Allen Parkway (between Waugh Drive and Montrose Boulevard).
Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is the non-profit transforming and revitalizing Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource. The organization’s geographic focus is the 10-square mile stretch of the bayou that flows from Shepherd Drive, through the heart of downtown into the East End, and onto the Port of Houston Turning Basin. Thanks to the generous support of foundations, corporations, individuals and government agencies, BBP has implemented more than $200 million in improvements for the redevelopment and stewardship of the waterfront – spearheading award-winning projects such as Buffalo Bayou Park, protecting land for future parks and green space, constructing hike and bike trails, and operating comprehensive clean-up and maintenance programs. Buffalo Bayou Partnership also activates the waterway through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities; volunteer activities; permanent and temporary art installations; and wide-ranging tours and programs that engage tens of thousands of visitors each year.
Justin Brice Guariglia (b. 1974) is a contemporary visual artist known for his work on
ecological issues. His photographic, sculptural and installation works address the Anthropocene, the name given to our current ecological period, in which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Sotheby’s has called Guariglia “one of the most prominent cultural figures working to address climate change.”
Guariglia has frequently collaborated with scientists, philosophers, and artists to forge a deeper understanding of our climate crisis. REDUCE SPEED NOW!, Guariglia’s 2019 Somerset House UK commission, deployed 10 highway message boards placed in the institution’s neo-classical courtyard, brought together the critical voices of international activists, poets and philosophers to address the ecological crisis as a catalyst for social and political change.
His 2017 solo exhibition at the Norton Museum of Art debuted work originating from an ongoing series of missions flown with NASA over the glaciers of Greenland. The exhibition traveled to the Fisher Museum of Art in 2018. WE ARE THE ASTEROID, a collaborative project with philosopher Timothy Morton, premiered at Storm King Art Center the same year. Iterations of the project have been displayed in Chicago, along with various sites across New York City in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of New York City, and the New York City Parks Department. Before exhibiting We are the Asteroid III in Buffalo Bayou Park, the work was on view at Rice University Moody Center for the Arts.
Morton (b. 1968) is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University
and the author of many books and essays on philosophy, ecology, literature,
music, and art, notably Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future
Coexistence, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the
World, and The Ecological Thought. Morton has also
written extensively about the literature of Percy Shelley and
Mary Shelley, Romanticism, and ecotheory.