Orbital Reflector

Trevor Paglen, Nine Reconnaissance Satellites over the Sonora Pass, 2008, C-Print, 48 x 60 inches; courtesy of Trevor Paglen, Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; © Trevor Paglen
Trevor Paglen, Nine Reconnaissance Satellites over the Sonora Pass, 2008, C-Print, 48 x 60 inches; courtesy of Trevor Paglen, Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco; © Trevor Paglen

At 10:34 a.m. on December 3, 2018, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Two hours later, 350 miles above Earth’s surface, it released 64 satellites into orbit for the largest satellite launch in US history. One of those, Orbital Reflector, will be the first “purely artistic” object in space.

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Lines (57° 59′N, 7° 16’W)

Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho, Lines (57° 59′ N, 7° 16’W), 2018-19, Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, image courtesy of Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho
Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho, Lines (57° 59′N, 7° 16’W), 2018-19, Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre, image courtesy of Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho

On the island of North Uist, in the Outer Hebrides archipelago on the northwest coast of Scotland, a site-specific installation shows the impact of future climate change with a visual reference to rising sea levels.

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Surrounded Islands

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, documentary photograph of Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83; photo by Wolfgang Volz, © Christo 1983
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, documentary photograph of Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83; photo by Wolfgang Volz, © Christo 1983

In May of 1983, eleven islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay were surrounded with 6.5 million square feet of floating pink fabric. It was an incredibly vibrant spectacle – green islands, pink fabric, turquoise water, and blue skies – realized by the conceptual and environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The project, Surrounded Islands, is the subject of an exhibition now at the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM).

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ANOTHER PLACE and ANOTHER TIME

Antony Gormley, ANOTHER PLACE, 1997, image © Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley, ANOTHER PLACE, 1997, image © Antony Gormley

In 1997, in Cuxhaven, Germany, the British sculptor Antony Gormley installed ANOTHER PLACE, a sculpture comprised of 100 life-sized iron figures, along the coast between the North Sea and the mouth of the Elbe River. The figures were spread 2.5 kilometers down the coast and a kilometer out to sea, facing the horizon and becoming submerged with the tides each day in September and October of that year.

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The London Mastaba

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake), 2016-2018, photo by Wolfgang Volz
Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake), 2016-2018, photo by Wolfgang Volz

In London’s Hyde Park, a monumental form floating on the Serpentine Lake is a feat of engineering and a spectacle many years in the making. Titled The Mastaba (Project for London, Hyde Park, Serpentine Lake), it is a temporary installation by the conceptual and environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

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I stormens öga

Bigert and Bergström, I stormens öga, installation view, 2017; photo by Jean-Baptiste Béranger, courtesy of Artipelag
Bigert and Bergström, I stormens öga, installation view, 2017; photo by Jean-Baptiste Béranger, courtesy of Artipelag

At Artipelag, a museum overlooking a bay in the Stockholm archipelago, an exhibition by Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström considers the intersection of culture and climate change. I stormens öga (In the storm’s eye) comprises works from 1990 to 2017 focusing on weather, climate, and human activity.

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