Two current University at Albany art projects, “Breathing Lights” and “Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene,” highlight the critical importance of research to the creative arts and the University’s strong connection to the local arts community.

Hear more from Adam Frelin"Breathing Lights," one of four winners in the nationwide Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, is the brainchild of lead artist Adam Frelin, an associate professor in UAlbany’s Department of Art and Art History, and lead architect Barbara Nelson, American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The Challenge provides up to $1 million over two years for temporary works that celebrate creativity, enhance urban identity, encourage public-private partnerships and drive economic development. More than two dozen local public and private partners are supporting the project. The award is a major success for the Capital District’s art scene.

During the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. in October and November 2016, "Breathing Lights" will illuminate roughly 300 empty buildings in the Upstate New York tri-city area, encompassing Albany, Schenectady and Troy. The lights will dim and glow to emulate the breathing of a living being. The installation aims to regenerate interest in once-vibrant neighborhoods that now have high vacancy rates. Once the project is uninstalled, most of the buildings will be up for sale.

The University is acutely attuned to the issue of urban blight, as its Center for Technology in Government is also leading a partnership with the cities of Schenectady, Troy, Albany and Gloversville to target urban blight. Together, the teams will examine code enforcement information needs throughout the region in order to support the development of programs to address the issue. This two-year effort is funded by the New York State Department of State’s Local Government Effi-ciency Program.

At the core of the project is the concept that research is critical to artistic and curatorial practice.

"Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene," a University Art Museum exhibition that bridges art and science, will bring more than 10 artists to the University this year to showcase artwork dealing with climate change.

"Anthropocene" relates to or denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. This ambitious project includes an exhibition, print and web publications, and related public and academic programs from July 12 - December 10, 2016.

At the core of the project is the concept that research is critical to artistic and curatorial practice. Exhibition co-curators seek to open up these processes and make them transparent for students and audiences.

Left to right: Janet Riker, Daniel Goodwin, Corinna Ripps Schaming
Artists Colin C. Boyd, Dana Hoey, Alexander Ross and Miljohn Ruperto/Ulrick Heltoft are creating new work or new configurations of existing work for the exhibition.

Boyd, who will create a studio in a section of the Museum’s exhibition space, will work in the Museum over the summer to create a stop-motion animation video based on his small herd of robotic, prehistoric mammals as they wander a table-top futuristic landscape. The Museum will be transformed when Professor of Art and Guggenheim Fellow JoAnne Carson re-installs part of the exhibition, recontextualizing work to reveal new patterns of thinking that form a counterpoint to the exhibition as originally configured.

“Future Perfect” posits that beneath the chaos of contemporary life, artists envision and protect a fragile, complicated interior space in which visual and poetic forms might help us unravel and accept the reality of a world – and an epoch – characterized by the effects of our presence.

The exhibition is co-curated by artist and Associate Professor of Art Daniel Goodwin, Art Museum Director Janet Riker and Associate Director/Curator Corinna Ripps Schaming.

As part of the project, Goodwin will offer an undergraduate studio art class based on “Future Perfect.” The exhibition will serve as a leaping off point for assigned readings, conversations, and studio production.

Preliminary research for the “Future Perfect” project was funded with seed money from the Presidential Initiatives Fund for Research and Scholarship.