Ever since her emergence as an artist and activist in Manhattan in the late 1970s, eco artist Christy Rupp has used art to understand the human definition of “natural.” Wielding commodified materials to construct three-dimensional sculptural pieces that examine our perception of nature, her work has been noted for its dynamic ability to deconstruct the harsh divisions that separate us from our environment. Noisy Autumn: Sculpture and Works on Paper, a new career-spanning monograph from Insight Editions, shows the precision, scale, and enduring power of this work.
Through her artwork, Rupp directly addresses the intersection of geopolitics, culture, and economics as they impact the vulnerabilities of ecosystems. “Foundational in my art practice is the intersection of animal behavior and the environment. As I started to learn more about how the science of economics impacts habitat, pretty much everything I’ve made since then flows from the waste stream, the creation and persistence of garbage, and how that waste has defined the world we live in today,” Rupp says. “I study economics as if it were a natural system which has been corrupted. The ravages of oil spills, industrial pollutants, pesticides, and climate chaos have made me an eco artist.”
Noisy Autumn — its title celebrating Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking Silent Spring upon the forthcoming 60th anniversary of its publication —includes essays by Carlo McCormick, Amy Lipton, Nina Felshin, Bob Holman, and Lucy R. Lippard, who writes, “This book displays the extraordinary variety of Rupp’s work over the years and the increasing urgency of her wide-ranging concentration on the cultural framing of nature… Amid today’s rapid slide into uncaring obsolescence danced to the drumbeats of war and ecological disaster, Rupp’s work becomes prescient. While many “climate artists” focus on our own fears of loss rather than empathy for others, she goes to the heart of the crisis. Caring about wildlife for its own sake, on its own grounds, she is a voice for scientific and aesthetic reason.”
Christy Rupp’s sculptures and works on paper alike leave readers pondering human engagement with the natural world amid rampant consumption — and how they may take action.
Christy Rupp, “Your Debt My Asset” (2020), cut paper collage, 16 x 18 inchesChristy Rupp, “Moby Debris” detail (2019), welded steel and plastic debris, 18 x 7 x 4 inchesChristy Rupp, Noisy Autumn: Sculpture and Works on Paper, Insight Editions (2021)