Gavin Kroeber is an artist whose projects and writings poach from visual art, urban theory, and performance. He produces curatorial projects and performance events that interrogate the cultural dynamics of power and their expression in the poetics of place. His project New Cities, Future Ruins, which received the 2016 Meadows Prize, investigated planetary crises of growth, migration, and sustainability in the sprawling cities of the Sun Belt. Recently relocated to St. Louis, he organized the 2018 festival Dwell in Other Futures: Art / Urbanism / Midwest and the interdisciplinary platform Art + Landscape STL, which culminated in a 2019 exhibition produced in partnership with the German art institution Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) and the Granite City Art & Design District (G-CADD). He most recently launched Laboratory for Suburbia, a collaboration with The Luminary and Washington University in St. Louis's Divided City initiative, and is currently developing a project engaging the multiplying burn zones of California's wildfires. He is co-founder of the nomadic curatorial platform Experience Economies and was Producer at Creative Time from 2005 until 2010. He is a regular contributor to Art in America and has written for publications such as Afterall, Art in America, Art Journal, and PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. He 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).