The term sustainable art has-been recently Promoted as an art term That can be distinguished from environmental Art That Is in Harmony with the key principles of sustainability , qui include ecology , social justice , non-violenceand grassroots democracy . [1]

Sustainable art can also be understood as social media (social, economic, biophysical, historical and cultural).


According to Maja and Reuben Fowkes , the origins of sustainable art can be traced to the conceptual art of the late 1960s and early 1970s, with its stress on dematerialization and questioning of the functioning of the art system. [2] They also connect the rise of the concept of sustainability to the ending of the Cold War in 1989 and the emergence of a new awareness of the global character of ecological and social problems. [3] Sustainable art adopts, according to these authors, a critical position towards some key practitioners in the land artmovement of the 1960s, who showed little concern for the environmental consequences of a giant landscape with a bulldozer for a brush. [4] They have questioned the divisive division between ‚autonomous‘ and ‚instrumental‘ art originating with modernism, arguing that it is ‚empowering‘, as well as social artists, the potential to be free and able to offer alternatives to dominant ideological paradigms. ‚ [5]

Since 2005 there is a Sustainable Arts Biennale running at Ihlienworth near Hamburg, Germany, curated by the German conceptual artist and curator Samuel J. Fleiner. There are a range of interpretations of the relationship between art and sustainability, besides the term ’sustainable art‘ promoted by Pooo and Reuben Fowkes: Other authors prefer the broader notions of ’sustainability arts‘ or ‚art and sustainability‘ (eg Kagan and Kirchberg ). [6] Still more specifically rejected the use of ’sustainable art‘, referring instead to ‚artistic work‘ (Margot Käßmann). [7]

Professional discussion of the relationship of contemporary art with notions of sustainability blossomed across Europe in the early 2000s, with the conference of the German Society for Political Culture (Instituts für Kulturpolitik der Kulturpolitischen Gesellschaft eV), in January 2002 at the Art Academy of Berlin, and the ‚Tutzinger Manifest‘. [8] An International Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art took place at Central European University in Budapest (Hungary) in March 2006. This was the first in a series of international symposia organized by Maja and Reuben Fowkesbringing together contemporary artists, philosophers, environmental scientists and acvitists to explore common ground around issues such as‘ Exit or Activism ‚(2008),‘ Hard Realities and the New Materiality ‚(2009) and‘ Art, Post-Fordism and Eco-Critical ‚(2010). [1] . In March-April 2007 at the Leuphana University Lüneburg , the Arts Research Network of the European Sociological Association focused on their recent movements and approaches to ‚arts and sustainability‘ at its biennial conference. [9]

Key words in the emerging field of sustainable art include ‚Kultur – Kunst – Nachhaltigkeit‘ (2002) by Hildegard Kurt and Bernd Wagner, [10] ‚The Principles of Sustainability in Contemporary Art‘ (2006) by Maja and Reuben Fowkes [11] and ‚Art and Sustainability‘ (2011) by Sacha Kagan. [12] A collection of interdisciplinary analyzes of the arts and culture with sustainability is available in ‚Sustainability: a new frontier for the arts and cultures‘ (2008) edited by Sacha Kagan and Volker Kirchberg. [13]

in Enough for All Forever (2012). [16]

Modern Sustainable Artists

Modern sustainable artists include artists who are using non-toxic, sustainable materials in their art and practice.

See also

  • Land art
  • Systems art
  • Sustainable design


  1. Jump up^ Maja Fowkes and Reuben Fowkes (2006). „Principles of Sustainability in Contemporary Art“. Praesens: central European contemporary art review. 1 (5-12) ISSN 1588-5534.
  2. Jump up^ ‚Planetary Forecast: The Roots of Sustainability in the Radical Art of the 1970s‘ Third Text 100 Special Issue vol 23 issue 5 September 2009
  3. Jump up^ ‚The Ecology of Post-Socialism and the Implications of Sustainability for Contemporary Art‘ inArt and Theory After Socialismedited by Malcolm Miles (Plymouth Press, 2008)
  4. Jump up^ „Art and Ecology – Economy Special Issue“ (2006). Praesens: central European contemporary art review. 1. ISSN 1588-5534.
  5. Jump up^ Maja and Reuben Fowkes, ‚Sensuous Resistance: The Legacy of Modernism for Sustainable Art‘ Dokumenta 12 magazine project (July 2007)
  6. Jump up^ Sacha Eds Kagan and Volker Kirchberg (2008). „Sustainability: a new frontier for the arts and cultures“. Frankfurt am Main: VAS. ISBN 978-3-88864-440-5
  7. Jump up^ Margot Käßmann. „The Spirit of Sustainability.“ Berlin: Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung.
  8. Jump up^ Kultur – Kunst – Nachhaltigkeit
  9. Jump up^ Volker Kirchberg, Sacha Kagan and Christoph Behnke (2007). „Final Report: ESA Research Network for the Sociology of the Arts“. Lüneburg: Leuphana University Lüneburg. ISBN 978-3935786485
  10. Jump up^ Hildegard Eds Kurt and Bernd Wagner (2002). „Kultur – Kunst – Nachhaltigkeit“. Klartext-Verlag. ISBN 978-3898610933
  11. Jump up^ See also: Maja Fowkes and Reuben Fowkes (2004). „Unframed Landscapes: Nature in Contemporary Art“. Unframed Landscapes. Croatia: Zagreb: HDLU. 5.ISBN 953-6508-17-6.
  12. Jump up^ Sacha Kagan (2011). „Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity“. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8376-1803-7.
  13. Jump up^ Sacha Eds Kagan and Volker Kirchberg (2008). „Sustainability: a new frontier for the arts and cultures“. Frankfurt am Main: VAS. ISBN 978-3-88864-440-5
  14. Jump up^ Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art exhibition catalog (2005). Chicago: Smart Museum of Art.
  15. Jump up^ TJ Demos, „The Politics of Sustainability: Art and Ecology,“ inRadical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet, 1969-2009, ed. Francesco Manacorda and Ariella Yedgar (London: Barbican Art Gallery, 2009), pp. 17-30.
  16. Jump up^ Maja and Reuben Fowkes, ‚Art and Sustainability,‘ inEnough for All Forever: A Handbook for Learning about Sustainability, Eds Joy Morray, et al. (Common Ground: Champaign, Illinois, 2012)