An installation being constructed by the University of New Mexico art and ecology students.
The University of New Mexico has a BFA and MFA program in art and ecology. I’m not sure when it started, but from their website, it seems that the program builds on previous eco-art classes and the university’s Land Arts of the American West program.
Read all about it at art.unm.edu/ecology.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to me is that if you go to the UNM Art and Art History homepage, the genres listed are:
- painting and drawing
- art history
- electronic arts
- art and ecology
I have to say that I’m surprised (and sort of enjoy) that this is an area or genre of study now. But I hope that it doesn’t result in other students thinking less about how ecology and environmentalism might play a role in their work.
From my experience, dividing students into specific genres has it’s positives and negatives. I’m thankful that I’ve studied in schools that are relatively open to interdisciplinary work while also engaging the medium-specific skills and information, if a young artist needs that in their work.
To a certain extent, any genre or “area” serves the needs of an academic institution, but I’ve always thought of eco-related art as spanning existing genres and would be hesitant to define it as its own medium. While eco-art may have its own concerns, I’ve been noticing that many young artists today—regardless of genre—think a lot about the environment and how artists can make work about it. As a result, much of the art that interests me isn’t overtly or obviously tied to environmentalism, but I believe it is there as an undercurrent.
Here’s hoping that this new program can help students find new and interesting ways to think about art and the environment, and that the “art and ecology” area adds to UNM’s other areas of study.