Is the Art World Causing a Climate Catastrophe?


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By Artnet News. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

For our latest episode, team Art Angle traveled to Art Basel Miami Beach to examine a much thornier and more urgent issue than the glamorous trade show's business: the art world's impact on Mother Earth. From thousands of deep-pocketed collectors flying in to south Florida for the week's festivities, to the hundreds of black cars and Ubers ferrying attendees from event to event, to the (literal) tons of artworks shipped by air, land, and sea to Miami's convention centers for a scant five days of exposure, the ecologically punishing realities of the art fair demand that we take a hard look at their sustainability for the planet—and ask bigger questions about the art world's responsibility to address the climate crisis.

The need for action only intensifies in light of the fact that Art Basel Miami Beach is just one of nearly 300 art fairs held around the globe every year, and that many of these events take place in the coastal destinations most imperiled by climate change. Art Basel Miami Beach is held just a few blocks from the waterfront where the sea level has tripled over the past decade, causing the city to ship in imported sand to keep its coastline from disappearing entirely. And this is just a prelude of things to come in other crucial art hubs like Hong Kong, London, New York, and Los Angeles.

Given the art world's cherished progressive reputation, how long can it justify the extraordinarily outsize habits of its fairs, institutions, and jet-setting elites? In what ways could the various players in the global art market minimize the damage they do to Mother Nature? And how are artists, as well as climate-activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, foregrounding the need for change in the cultural sphere? In the middle of Miami Art Week, Artnet News's European editor Kate Brown joined Andrew Goldstein by phone from Germany to tackle these urgent questions, and more.

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