Eco-Conscious Exhibitions and Art Shows in the UK

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We love a good art show as much as the next culture vulture, but sometimes we need artists, galleries, and museums to take the lead when it comes to educating audiences on widespread social issues. Connecting visitors to the natural world, endangered species, plastic consumption, and climate change, these are the eco-conscious art exhibitions to see in the UK this year.

A Guide to Sustainable Art

Eco-Conscious Exhibitions and Art Shows in the UK

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Es Devlin Sculpture at The Tate London


Es Devlin Installation

An illuminated sculpture by leading artist Es Devlin highlighting the 243 species on London’s priority conservation list – moths, birds, beetles, wildflowers, fish and fungi – will be installed in the Tate Modern garden opposite St Paul’s Cathedral from 16 to 25th September.

Each evening at sunset, an interpretation of Choral Evensong will be sung within the illuminated sculpture by London-based choral groups – rare and unique London voices – combined with the voices of the birds, bats, and insects that also consider London their home.

The sculpture will be placed in the Tate Modern Garden, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, London-based choral groups of the diaspora will perform each evening at sunset within a sliced open scale model of the dome of St Paul’s, teaming with Devlin’s pencil drawings of each of the 243 species, illuminated with projection.

Le Good Society Exhibition

Let’s Live With Less Plastic

Billboards across the UK, and online

To coincide with Plastic Free July, artists have joined forces to create an outdoor exhibition across the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and New York. A project from Le Good Society, a UK-based organisation dedicated to arts and activism, the exhibition features works from Anthony Burrill, Dave Pollot, Shingai, Tom Hodgkinson and Hunto, among others. Standout pieces include a series of illustrations depicting plastic particulates coursing through parts of our bodies, and an apocalyptic beach scene with a handful of people staring into a dried up ocean void of life. Aiming to encourage viewers to reduce their single-use plastic usage, works are being displayed across billboards, as well as through a virtual exhibition. There’s also an online auction, with funds going towards charity partner Oceanic Global.

When: Until 31 July 2022

Image: Art by Tom Hodgkinson, Anthony Burrill, Tia Grazette, Paul Davis, Frank Goffey

Seba Calfuqueo, Tray Tray Ko, video, 6’13, 2022, film still, photo by Sebastian Melo

Back to Earth 2022

Serpentine North, The Magazine & Other Locations

The Serpentine Gallery’s new multi-year project invites over 60 leading artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers to devise artist-led campaigns, protocols and initiatives responding to the environmental crisis. Titled Back to Earth, the project is ‘a complex web of interconnected research, interventions and activities’. Serpentine Gallery have commissioned multiple campaigns for Back to Earth, with talent including the likes of Maria Thereza Alves, James Bridle, Jane Fonda, Karrabing Film Collective and Vivienne Westwood. The latest instalment will see an exhibition take place at Serpentine North this summer, where artists will present a series of installations exploring our relationship with planet and its various wildlife.

When: Exhibition at Serpentine North will run through 22 June —18 September 2022

Image: Seba Calfuqueo, Tray Tray Ko, video, 6’13, 2022, film still, photo by Sebastian Melo

International Airspace , David Rickard , 2019. Image courtesy of the artist and Copperfield London, Image: Wellcome Collection

In the Air

Wellcome Collection

This Wellcome Collection exhibition is all about our relationship with the air, and what it says about us as a society. From a 1661 pamphlet calling to action against smog, to contemporary protests and artworks against air pollution by artists including Tacita Dean and David Rickard, ‘In the Air’ traces how we breathe is often a locus for societal inequity and climate responsibility.

When: 19 May — 16 October 2022

Image: International Airspace , David Rickard, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist and Copperfield London, Image: Wellcome Collection

Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It, The Natural History Museum

Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It

The Natural History Museum, London

Following in the footsteps of COP15 on and COP26, The Natural History Museum has opened up its doors to invite debate on why and how our relationship with the natural world needs to change. This year-long free display will explore how humans have shaped the planet in an effort to uncover possible solutions to creating a greener future. With specimens chosen from over 80 million objects in the museum’s collection by its scientists, Our Broken Planet promises to intrigue, engage and open up the conversation around sustainability to everyone.

When: Until late summer 2022

Image: Courtesy of the Trustees of the Natural History Museum London

Our Future Planet at The Science Museum

Our Future Planet

The Science Museum, London

This exhibition asks one very important question: can carbon capture help us flight climate change? Our Future Planet explores the technologies being developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, highlighting cutting-edge technology and nature-based solutions. From preserving ancient woodlands and adding dust to agricultural fields, to capturing carbon dioxide from the air or installing systems that prevent it leaving power stations and factories, The Science Museum showcase contemporary efforts to save the planet.

When: 19 May 2021 – September 2022

Image: Courtesy of the Science Museum Group

Are You Living Comfortably? McCoy Wynne, 2021. Commissioned for Energy House by Open Eye Gallery and University of Salford Art Collection (c) McCoy Wynne

LOOK Photo Biennial

Various venues across the North West

The North West’s biannual photography festival is back for the first time since 2019, and the theme this year is ‘Climate’. Organised by Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery, the festival takes place across multiple sites including RHS Gardens Bridgewater in Manchester, New Adelphi Gallery at the University of Salford and World of Glass at St Helens. The biennial comes after a ten-week-long exploration period at the LOOK Climate Lab at Open Eye, where researchers, artists, academics and visionaries took over the gallery as a lab space. The aim of the project is ‘to explore the agency of people within a sometimes overwhelming climate emergency, maximising the accessibility of photography to transcend languages, borders and cultures’.

When: 14 July — 4 September 2022

Image: Are You Living Comfortably? McCoy Wynne, 2021. Commissioned for Energy House by Open Eye Gallery and University of Salford Art Collection (c) McCoy Wynne

Refugee Astronaut III, Yinka Shonibare CBE, 2019

Being Human

The Wellcome Collection

As the title suggests, The Wellcome Collection’s permanent exhibition Being Human is an exploration of what it means to live as a human being in the twenty-first century. The space is divided into four themes: genetics, minds and bodies, infection, and climate breakdown. The final chapter addresses the era of modern climate change, and includes artworks by the likes of Superflex and Yinka Shonibare. A thought-provoking look into the future of society, art, and sustainable art exhibitions.

When: Ongoing

Image: Refugee Astronaut III, Yinka Shonibare CBE, 2019 © Yinka Shonibare CBE. Courtesy of The Wellcome Collection

Featured image: Detail of Unpaved Paradise by Orlanda Broom. Courtesy of the artist and Grove Square Galleries.

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