Colby faculty and staff guest edit special edition of The Brooklyn Rail

October 29, 2019

The River Rail: Occupy Colby brings together art and scholarship on climate change

WATERVILLE, Maine—The Lunder Institute for American Art, the Colby College Museum of Art, and The Brooklyn Rail have joined together to co-publish The River Rail: Occupy Colby, a special edition of the magazine that connects the dialogues surrounding climate change to the Colby community.

Building on the themes of the exhibition Occupy Colby: Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, Year 2, on view at the Colby College Museum of Art through January 5, 2020, The River Rail: Occupy Colby focuses on humankind’s role in and response to ecological crises, including climate change.

Curated by Phong Bui—New York-based artist, critic, curator, publisher and artistic director of The Brooklyn Rail, and a 2019 Lunder Institute Fellow—Occupy Colby continues an initiative launched in 2017 at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. The Colby iteration, a satellite show to Rail Curatorial Projects’ contribution to the Venice Biennale, features works by Lauren Bon, David Brooks, Mel Chin, Mark Dion, Maya Lin, Meg Webster and others responding with heightened awareness to the fragility of planet earth.

“The decision to orient the Colby iteration around environmental issues and climate change as well reflects the college’s long history of leadership in environmental studies and stewardship,” write Sharon Corwin, Carolyn Muzzy Director and Chief Curator of the  Colby College Museum of Art, and Lee Glazer, director of the Lunder Institute for American Art, in the publication’s introduction.

Guest edited by three Colby College faculty members, Kerill O’Neill, Julian D. Taylor Professor of Classics, Denise Bruesewitz, associate professor of environmental studies, and Chris Walker, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Environmental Humanities, The River Rail: Occupy Colby features a transcribed panel discussion Bui moderated in September between Occupy Colby exhibiting artists Allyson Vieira and Alexis Rockman and several Colby faculty members. Also featured are a text by Diana Tuite, the Museum’s Katz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, and a selection of essays by Colby faculty and students in both the sciences and the humanities.

“Topics range from the perils of generational amnesia in recognizing environmental decline to the use of deep ice core samples in understanding climate history; from reflections on river-detritus-as-data to the suggestion that algorithms, which now so massively and ubiquitously organize our data, should actually be regarded as organisms within their own ecosystem. The thread binding these texts together is a common recognition of the interconnectedness of nature and human activity,” reflect Corwin and Glazer.

Connection | Community | Inspiration, a private launch party for The River Rail: Occupy Colby will take place on Tuesday, October 29, at The Landing at Industry City, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Copies will be distributed throughout New York City, wherever The Brooklyn Rail is distributed, on the Colby campus, and around the cities of Waterville and Portland, Maine, at the following locations:

  • Colby College Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill, Waterville
  • Mary Low Coffee House, Mayflower Hill, Waterville
  • Cotter Union, 4000 Mayflower Hill, Waterville
  • Waterville Creates!/Common Street Arts, 10 Water Street, Suite 106
  • Selah Tea Cafe, 177 Main St., Waterville
  • Jorgensen’s Cafe, 103 Main St., Water
  • Waterville Public Library, 73 Elm St., Waterville
  • Railroad Square Cinema, 17 Railroad Square, Waterville
  • Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland

About the Lunder Institute for American Art

The Lunder Institute for American Art supports innovative research and creative production that expands the boundaries of American art. A collaborative initiative with the Colby College Museum of Art located in central Maine, the Lunder Institute invites visiting artists, scholars, and museum professionals to engage across disciplines with Colby faculty and students, the College’s network of institutional partners, leading experts, and other creative collaborators. Through fellowships, workshops, symposia, and incubator grants, the Lunder Institute amplifies marginalized voices, challenges convention, and provides a platform for generative dialogue through art and scholarship.

About the Colby College Museum of Art

Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art is a teaching museum, destination for American art, and a place for engagement with local and global communities. Located on the Colby College campus in Waterville, Maine, the Museum holds more than 10,000 works of art and offers more than 38,000 square feet of exhibition space. Major works by American artists, including Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and William Merritt Chase, form the core of the historical collection, along with significant holdings of American folk art. The modern movement is represented by artists including John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Joan Mitchell, Isamu Noguchi, and Alma Thomas. The Museum also maintains a significant collection of contemporary American art, including works by Alex Katz, Richard Serra, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Maya Lin, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Murray, Martin Puryear, Terry Winters, and Julie Mehretu. Other principal areas of the collection include Greek and Roman antiquities, European prints and drawings, and early Chinese art. The recent donation of more than 1,500 artworks from Paula and Peter Lunder expands that scope, and the creation of the Lunder Institute for American Art enhances the Museum’s engagement with scholarly and creative production.

About The Brooklyn Rail

Founded in October 2000 and published 10 times annually, The Brooklyn Rail provides an independent forum for arts, culture, and politics throughout New York City and far beyond. The Rail further fulfills its mission by curating art exhibitions, panel discussions, reading series, and film screenings that reflect the complexity and inventiveness of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape. Other Rail initiatives include its small press Rail Editions, and the curatorial endeavor, Rail Curatorial Projects. Rail Editions publishes books of poetry, experimental fiction, prose meditation, artists’ writings, and interviews with artists in addition to art and literary criticism. Rail Curatorial Projects seeks to establish dialogues between artists, curators, dealers, critics, collectors, and art historians via rigorously conceived and researched exhibitions and events. The Brooklyn Rail is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and distributes its journal free of charge around New York City, as well as to a growing list of national and international subscribers.