This article examines how contemporary artists respond to the technique of hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as “fracking.” Drawing on examples of political protest and social activism, with special focus on the ways that artistic interventions challenge energy corporations in galleries and museums, Smith analyzes how artists fuse concerns over the environment with critical aesthetics. By doing so, they explore the problematic relationships between fracking and climate change, waste, environmental degradation, pollution, and public health. In the wake of new data, research, and dissent, it is argued that contemporary art visualizes protest and continues to play a role in picturing the potentially harmful effects of fracking. Accordingly, Smith proposes that artists formulate innovative ways to confront an authoritative fuel industry and translate key issues into new modes of understanding.
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Research Article| March 01 2019
Strange Brew: Art, Protest, and the Anti-Fracking Movement
Matthew Ryan Smith, Phd, is curator of Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
Afterimage (2019) 46 (1): 3–16.
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Matthew Ryan Smith; Strange Brew: Art, Protest, and the Anti-Fracking Movement. Afterimage 1 March 2019; 46 (1): 3–16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/aft.2019.461002
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