Jonathan Davis | Contributing Writer
A new exhibition titled The Big World: Alternative Landscapes of the Modern Era containing world-renowned art unveiled in Miami Beach last week.
All pieces in The Big World originate from the 1850s-1950s- a period of rapid industrialization and cultural changes not only in America but around the globe.
The once-rolling pastures of lush fauna and natural beauty adored by artists are transformed into smoggy metal cities, full of pollution and void of natural beauty.
Artists during this period used the common theme of barren trees and dark, smoky hues in their work to show the devastating effects of urbanization, or the transformation of barren land into dense cities, on the environment.
The exhibit generates a valorous realization of the devastating effects of urbanization and modern population expansion on the landscape and natural beauty.
Silvia Barisione, a chief curator at the Wolfsonian FIU, explains that The Big World exhibit is a “trailblazing collection demonstrating the idea of the landscape.”, how artists interpret the force of nature, and the role of the environment both historically, in agriculture, and in modern society, in cityscapes
“Throughout urbanization, we learn how the landscape has been damaged, many artists convey humans as the winter of our planet, as they are the lethal force that brings death to our nature,” said Barisione.
The exhibit reveals a bold realization to its spectators of the devastating effects of urbanization and modern population expansion on the landscape and natural beauty.
Lea Nickless, the chief curator for The Big World exhibition, highlighted the historical emergence of modern artwork.
“Looking at the period of time, the majority of society began moving from rural to urban areas, therefore devastating nature both in their commute and in the expansion of new, large metro areas,” said Nickless.
“The piano is an unusual example of nature,” she said. “It’s a Baldwin Piano, and both artists and sculptors collaborated on this piece to bring the beauty of nature indoors and remind people of the environmental origin of materials we use in our daily lives.”
Molly Channon, a curator and arts administrator at the Wolfsonian-FIU, emphasizes viewing picturesque art in unconventional ways.
“The strength of this exhibit is the non-traditional pieces that help formulate the main message of human impacts on the environment,” Channon said. “We have decorative art, furniture, and vases that highlight our theme in the same way a conventional painting does.”
The Big World’s artwork incorporates a daring yet diverse genre of pieces that details the urbanization of America in an enlightening way.
Each artist uniquely expresses an admiration of the landscape, either by showing its devastation as a consequence of modernity or by detailing the environment in its most prosperous form, with hopes of inspiring restoration efforts.
This exhibition urges spectators to be mindful of their own environmental impact and brings awareness to how destroying nature can also destroy humanity.