FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill

I’ve got a new poem in the fracking exhibition at Exit Art (475 10th Avenue).  If you’re in the NYC area, definitely check it out.  There’ll also be a panel discussion on the 12th and a poetry reading on Feb. 1st which I’ll be excited to be a part of.  Info below…

FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill

December 7, 2010 – February 5, 2011

Opening Tuesday, December 7, 7-9pm


Exit Art announces Fracking: Art and Activism Against the Drill. Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is a means of gas extraction that accesses gas trapped more than a mile below the earth’s surface. This exhibition, a project of SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics), will expose this process of gas extraction that is contaminating water supplies worldwide. Through documentary videos, photography by Jacques del Conte and Michael Forster Rothbart, commissioned works, public responses and literature, it will engage the public in dialogue on this issue through public lectures and calls to action and encourage audiences to continue educating themselves and their communities on fracking and its detrimental effects.

Exit Art invited the public to respond to the issue of fracking by submitting a postcard via mail with original artwork on one side and a written statement on the other. The dozens of responses we received will be on view, forming a collective call to end fracking; postcards will be accepted throughout the run of the exhibition and will be added as they are received.

Organized by Lauren Rosati, Assistant Curator, with Peggy Cyphers, Ruth Hardinger, and Alice Zinnes.


June Ahrens, Guy and Mary Arnold, Sabrina Artel, Kevin Bourgeois, Dianne Bowen, Miriam Brumer, Lois Carlo, Pamela Casper, Peggy Cypher, Carrie Dashow and Suzanne Thorpe, Jacques del Conte, Linda DiGusta, Debra Drexler, Dennis Edge, Mariah Fee, Xeth Feinberg, Jane Fire, Sandy Gellis, Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Elizabeth Ginsberg, Edith Gould, Grace Graupe-Pillard, Ruth Hardinger, Erica Hart, Heide Hatry, Mary Hrbacek, Michael Lebron, Michael Leong, Linda Levit, Ellen Levy, Glenn Lieberman, Norm Magnusson, Angela Manno, E.J. McAdams, Jenny McNutt, Philip Metres and Kristen Baumlier, William Meyer, Rifka Milder, Ron Moroson and Miriam Bloom, C. Michael Norton, Tina Potter, Jane Prettyman, Aviva Rahmani, Michael Forster Rothbart, Allan Rubin, Christy Rupp, Kevin Ryan, Paul Lloyd Sargent, Laura Sheinkopf / Jesse Goldstein / Molly Fair, Barbara Slitkin, Susan Smith, Robin Jane Solvang, Sasha Sumner, Naomi Teppich, Robin Tewes, Edwin Torres, Chris Twomey, Mark Wiener, Jeanne Wilkinson, Alice Zinnes


Tickets are $5. To purchase a ticket and RSVP click HERE.

*Please note:
Michael Boufadel is no longer able to participate in the panel. He will be replaced by Larysa Melnyk Dyrszka, a board certified pediatrician and Steering Committee Member for the Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, who will speak to the health effects of fracking.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 / 7-9pm
Fracking and Its Effects: A Panel Discussion
Host: Mark Ruffalo, Actor / Activist
Moderator: Tracy Carluccio, Activist
Panelists: Joe Levine, Lobbyist / Activist; Michael Lebron, Artist / Activist / Organizer; Al Appleton, Policy; Larysa Melnyk Dyrszka, Pediatrician / Activist; Christy Rupp, Artist; and a representative from “Gasland” to be announced

This panel discussion brings together leading experts and activists on hydraulic fracturing, representing multiple facets of this issue.

Mark Ruffalo is an actor, director, producer and screenwriter known for his roles in We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zodiac, Reservation Road, and The Kids Are All Right, among dozens of films. He is also a vocal critic of hydraulic fracturing, having recently appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” to discuss the issue and the 2009 FRAC Act.

Tracy Carluccio is the Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, a nonprofit environmental organization she helped found in 1988. She has served on several State, county and township Councils and boards, project steering committees and community organizations related to issues of water and environmental preservation.

Al Appleton is the former Commissioner of NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection and the former Director of the New York City Water and Sewer System where he created the Catskill watershed protection program, a worldwide model for sustainable watershed management and drinking water source protection.  He is an international expert on water issues, watershed management and environmental sustainability.  He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Cooper Union and  a Senior Fellow at the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design.

Larysa Melnyk Dyrszka is a Diplomate on the National Board of Medical Examiners and a Board Certified Pediatrician. She is also a Steering Committee member of the Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and a founding member of Sullivan Area Citizens for Responsible Energy Development.

Michael Lebron has had a varied career in site-specific / public forum media art installations, in advertising, and in grassroots activism. His public work has led him into a number of 1st Amendment battles, one of which involved an 8-1 decision at the Supreme court level written by Antonin Scalia, with Sandra Day O’Connor in dissent.

Joe Levine is a principal in the NYC firm of Bone/Levine Architects. The firm is involved with urban infrastructure upgrading and rehabilitation, conservation easement planning, and is a consultant to the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design. He is the co-founder of NYH20 and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, two grassroots nonprofit organizations dedicated to educating the public about the threats posed by unconventional natural gas extraction.

Christy Rupp is an artist and activist who has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally since 1977. Her most recent body of work deals with fracking, mountaintop removal and oil drilling in the Amazon.

“Gasland” is a documentary film directed by Josh Fox that focuses on communities affected by natural gas drilling. It was released in 2010 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 / 7-9pm
SEA Poetry Series No. 6
Details TBA.
The SEA Poetry Series emphasizes diverse ways in which poets address social and environmental issues in their work. Presented in connection with specific SEA exhibitions, the series aims to investigate and expand the exhibition theme through the lens of contemporary poetry. After each reading, an artist from the exhibition or a community member working within the exhibition theme briefly responds to the poet. Each event is recorded and posted as a podcast on our website as well as submitted under the poet’s name to PennSound. Past poets in the series have included Jonathan Skinner, Marcella Durand, Laura Elrick, The Canary Project, James Sherry and Julie Ezelle Patton.
SEA Poetry Series conceived and organized by E.J. McAdams, poet and Associate Director of Philanthropy at The Nature Conservancy, New York City. $5. Cash bar. Q and A to follow.


Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is a means of gas extraction that accesses gas trapped more than a mile below the earth’s surface. When a well is fracked, small earthquakes are produced by the pressurized injection of millions of gallons of fresh water combined with sand and chemicals, releasing the gas, as well as toxic chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive materials that contaminate air and water.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed under the guidance of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act and major provisions of other protective laws, virtually eliminating the gas industry’s liability and E.P.A.’s regulatory oversight. Exemption from the Community Right to Know Law also absolves the gas industry from being required to report the actual chemicals used in the drilling processes—chemicals that can severely contaminate the water supply and cause serious illnesses. A drilling moratorium is in effect in New York State until the D.E.C. issues fracking regulation, potentially paving the way for drilling to commence in New York in 2011. 

Educating about gas drilling issues and seeking solutions including legal, regulatory and government reforms 

The NYC sister group to Damascus Citizens

Advocate of clean water in New York State and New York City 

Affiliated with Riverkeeper

A 22-year-old environmental advocacy, stream restoration and education organization that operates throughout the Delaware River Watershed  

Active in NY State; focused in Chenango, Delaware and Otsego counties 

Centralized source tracking and visualizing data related to gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale region

Active in the Upstate NY and Finger Lakes region  

A national organization for the education, organization and protection of communities from the devastating impacts of oil and gas development 

Active in the Catskills region  

About the movie and about getting involved in the issues

ABOUT SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics)

SEA is a unique endeavor that presents a diverse multimedia exhibition program and permanent archive of artworks that address social and environmental concerns. SEA assembles artists, activists, scientists and scholars to address environmental issues through presentations of visual art, performances, panels and lecture series that will communicate international activities concerning environmental and social activism. Central to SEA’s mission is to provide a vehicle through which the public can be made aware of socially- and environmentally-engaged work, and to provide a forum for collaboration between artists, scientists, activists, scholars and the public. SEA functions as an initiative where individuals can join together in dialogue about issues that affect our daily lives. SEA was conceived by Exit Art Artistic Director Papo Colo.


General exhibition support provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Bloomberg LP; Jerome Foundation; Lambent Foundation; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; and public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. We are grateful to Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and Delaware RiverKeeper for their help and expertise in the complex issues of fracking.

~ by Michael Leong on January 5, 2011.

5 Responses to “FRACKING: Art and Activism Against the Drill”

  1. Love it.

    Global Ban

  2. Camp Frack
    Weekend of 17th-18th September

  3. Thanks, Luke — glad to hear about the activism.

  4. It went quite well.
    Here`s a page devoted to Camp Frack and the continued fight to ban fracking.

  5. I knew I came here to post something but went and posted something else instead.

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