CHICAGO -- Acclaimed Chicago artist Jenny Kendler has been chosen to be the founding participant in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Artist-in-Residence program. Kendler’s lauded works, exploring intersections between human culture, perceptions of the natural world, and declining biodiversity, are an easy fit for the program, which is envisioned as a unique opportunity for engagement between environmental experts, artists, and the general public.
“This is exactly where I want to position myself,” said Kendler. “As an artist embedded in a science-based, advocacy organization. This is a perfect fit, and I could not be more excited about the issues we will be exploring together.”
Kendler is known for her intimate drawings, sculptures and installations that explore people’s view of nature and blur the line between art and advocacy. During the year-long residency, she will be working side-by-side with NRDC’s Land and Wildlife program out of the organization’s Chicago office in direct collaboration with lawyers, policy experts and scientists working on an array of issues in the hope that resulting artworks will help translate and contextualize NRDC’s wildlife advocacy in new and engaging ways.
“An artist’s distinct perspective creates new ways to engage the public on the pressing environmental issues we work on,” said NRDC Manager of Art Partnerships Elizabeth Corr. “NRDC’s residency will highlight the central and complementary role the arts play in animating science, advocacy and environmental issues.”
Public engagement will be core to NRDC’s Artist-in-Residence initiative. Kendler has already begun several new works including a “food cart” for monarch butterflies to be installed at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis during this year’s Marfa Dialogues sessions (the Gateway City is home to the chemical company Monsanto, makers of pesticides often implicated in the rapid decline of milkweed and the butterflies that rely on it for food), an installation at EXPO Chicago, and a potential partnership with the Chicago Park District. All of the projects will be designed with hands-on public participation in mind so as to expand the audiences that NRDC traditionally reaches and to encourage people to think about our work and the natural world a bit differently.
Images of Kendler’s artwork and an artist statement are available on her Web site www.jennykendler.com
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.