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.
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).
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.
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.
Every five years in Kassel, Germany, documenta is a contemporary art exhibition lasting 100 days. Each edition presents hundreds of works in and around the city, typically conceptual and frequently site-specific. Of the thousands of works shown since the first documenta in 1955, sixteen have become permanent installations in Kassel.
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.
On November 11, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on Saadiyat Island, a cultural district off the coast of the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The museum was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel and is the result of a €1 billion agreement between Abu Dhabi and France.
On September 22, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) opened in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s a major development, locally and globally, and is described in superlatives: the first major contemporary art museum in Africa; the largest museum to open in Africa in a century; and the largest contemporary African art museum in the world.