Gavin Kroeber is an artist, writer, and head of the interdisciplinary curatorial office The Studio for Art & Urbanism. His projects and writings, which poach from visual art, urban theory, and performance, are concerned broadly with cultural dynamics of power and in particular with their expression in the poetics of place. His current work is focused on the extreme urbanism of America's Western Sun Belt and redirective approaches to landscape. Projects in development include the performance-lecture Verdant Cities: A Warning and two public programs in St. Louis: the Fall 2017 social series At the Edge of Everything Else and a Spring 2018 event, The Autumnal City: A Midwestern Festival of Urbanism and Futurism. He is half of the curatorial collaborative Experience Economies (with Rebecca Uchill) and holds a Master of Design Studies in Art, Design, and the Public Domain from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Turning attention from Storm King Art Center’s renowned collection of monumental artworks to the meadows, forests, and mountains against which they stand in relief, Not Objects in the Landcape, but a Landscape of Objects (2015) looked at the ways Storm King frames the natural world and influences its audience’s relationship to it.
The roving performance lecture invoked a series of sites, not only within the sensorial landscape of Storm King but also far beyond its viewshed: Hudson River School landmarks, 20th-century bohemian enclaves, the aqueducts and freeways connecting New York City to its peripheral extraction sites, and emergent “hickster” micropolises destabilizing the region’s sense of cultural center.
Across multiple locations (beginning on the hill overlooking Storm King’s signature South Fields but moving into older, quieter, and less-known niches of the grounds) and through multiple modes of address (lecture, interview, and informal conversation) the piece positioned art, nature, and the city as entangled figures—historically celebrated as emancipatory spaces, now enlisted in the normative image of the Sustainable Creative City.
With the participation of Ellen Grenley (Storm King), Mariel Villere (Freshkills Park), and Nick Weist (The Shandaken Project).