By Nicole Miller, for The Brooklyn Rail
In June, while art dealers and collectors flocked to the fairs in Basel and Venice—where you could nab one of Damien Hirst’s massive, bronze shipwreck fabrications for a cool five million dollars—a different sort of exhibition launched in downtown Manhattan. Works on Water is the inaugural triennial devoted to works made on, in, or with water. Unlike Hirst’s Treasures, which raids maritime mythology for luxury goods, Works on Water is rooted in the social practices of artists responding to changing urban ecologies. Presented by the theater company New Georges, with 3LD Art & Technology Center and Urban Water Artists, in collaboration with Guerilla Science, the month-long event brings together visual and performing art with environmental and social science. Through its gallery programming and off-site expeditions, curators make the case for an emerging genre that is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and community-based—a counterpoint to the global commodity-fetish.