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Art World Aims for Sustainability as Climate Change Continues

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Last month, a man disguised as an elderly woman sitting in a wheelchair painted red cream pastry on Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work, the Mona Lisa. The painting, displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris, was hidden behind bulletproof glass and was intact. Still, both the world and the Louvre visitors were wondering. Why would someone attack one of the most iconic (and valuable) works of art ever drawn?

When the cake-painting criminal was taken away by the Louvre guards (and later arrested, Placed in psychiatric care), He attributed a message to his vandalism: “Think about the Earth,” he said. “There are people who are destroying the earth. Think about it … All artists, think about the earth — that’s why I did this. Think about the planet.”

There was no permanent damage, but the attack on the Louvre dramatically revealed the relationship between art, the art industry and the environment.

Compared to much larger “cultural industries” like fashion and entertainment, the art world’s role in environmental issues such as climate change is relatively modest. But across this lucrative and rare territory, galleries, auction houses, trade fairs, collectors, institutions and artists themselves are increasingly working on more sustainable business practices to help fight global warming. ..The subject was among those addressed by recent speakers Art for tomorrow The meeting in Athens was held in connection with the New York Times.

“The world of art may be relatively small, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be sustainable,” he said. Gallery Climate Union, Provides guidelines for arts institutions to increase sustainability. “We have the opportunity to reach a huge audience and set the standards of environmental responsibility that we can reach.”

With a history of only two years, the Gallery Climate Union has more than 800 members from across the arts sector working on a mission to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. increase.

The timing of this heightened environmental awareness chance.For the first time this year, there are sustainability issues Top 10 High Net Worth Collector Concerns Those surveyed as part of the annual Art Basel / UBS Art Market Report.

For example, about 70% of collectors think of “sustainability options” when buying art or managing their collections. 64% are interested in reducing personal travel to art-related events, and 68% are willing to adopt more environmentally friendly shipping methods when shipping artwork.

Although dominated by prominent institutions like the Louvre, the world of art is actually mostly composed of small businesses and galleries, a former global director of the Freeze Art Fair and a co-worker of the Global Climate Coalition. The founder, Victoria Siddle, said. Conference speaker.

Although they may collaborate on a daily basis, these companies typically operate independently with several formal “regulatory bodies, organizational tools, or resources” to achieve sustainability. It has been said, Mr. Cedar.

The coalition is working to fill this gap, especially through digital tools such as “carbon calculators”. This helps members estimate carbon dioxide emissions and calculate greenhouse gas emission levels. She added that quantification of emissions is important. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t reduce it.”

In addition to travel, the transportation of art from galleries to art fairs, art fairs to collections, and collections to museums is a major factor in industry emissions, especially by air. Indeed, the industry standard for transporting art by air has 10 times more environmental impact than land transport and 60 times more impact than sea transport, according to the Union.

Despite the climatic benefits, persuading both art producers and consumers to opt out of air transport, and its apparent speed benefits, was difficult.

“Art is a luxury product, and expectations for customer service always accompany it,” said Lowndes. And even if the calendar for exhibitions and art events isn’t ten years old, or planned a few years ago, the logistics considerations within the industry remain surprisingly marginal.

But supply chain issues — Cost spikes up to 10 times the pre-pandemic level For air travel — dented the charm of air travel and opened the heart to sea shipping.Open them further Is a new partnership between Christie’s auction house and art logistics company Crozier. The two companies have launched a monthly sea freight service between London and New York and a bi-monthly service between London and Hong Kong.

“This plan will reduce carbon emissions by 80% compared to air travel,” said Tom Woolston, Head of Global Operations at Christie’s.

To attract consumers, Crozier has developed a fleet of steel and aluminum shipping containers with temperature control, humidity and shock monitors, and a special refrigeration system specially designed to protect works of art. I am.

The journey between London and New York takes about 20 days. 40 between London and Hong Kong, and Crozier will soon try the New York-Hong Kong route. “These are our most mass routes,” Woolston said.

Christie’s has promised to fill 60% of each container to ensure the viability of the pilot program. The rest is available to all Crozier clients interested in sea shipping, including small arts companies that are committed to sustainability but cannot provide such services on their own.

Like Christie’s, the new transportation program is part of a larger, company-wide sustainability promotion at Crozier, said Simon Hornby, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Crozier Europe. .. This strategy involves the development of recyclable packaging materials. A new rental program to keep the crate in circulation. And a fleet of new European electric delivery vehicles.

Hornby admits that all galleries and collectors are willing to wait weeks instead of hours for art to be delivered. “There is certainly an aspect of’immediate satisfaction’,” he said. However, he said, the new system “provides enough information, data and reliability to help clients move to a more climate-sensitive mindset.”

Design and execution are complex, but operational shifts such as the transition from air cargo to sea cargo are relatively easy.

“They are unruly fruits,” said Luise Faurschou, founder and director of. Art 2030Copenhagen-based non-profit organization, partnering with individual artists and arts organizations to move forward United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.. Equally important are efforts to increase the sustainability of the way art is produced, distributed, and ultimately experienced.

For example, instead of always holding resource-intensive exhibitions, “the museum can choose to extend the exhibition longer or show more works from its own collection,” the organization said. Faurschou, who supports the development of large-scale art projects with the following political message: “Breathe with me” Climate change measures by Danish artist Jeppehain in Central Park United Nations Sustainable Climate Goals.

“Sure, this requires planning, but the ultimate need is a completely” new normal. ” “Faurschou said.

Part of this “New Normal” is held at global art fairs such as Art Basel and Freeze. These fairs not only consume large amounts of carbon-emission fuel, but also provide an open-minded audience with the opportunity to showcase sustainable mind practices.

In 2019, Cidar said: Freeze switched to a new type of fuel, Green D — Made from vegetable oil waste — Powers the London trade fair. According to Cedar, the move has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to traditional fuels. The Freeze Fair also features reusable carpets, tents and booth walls.At Art Basel, “about 94.2 percent of overall energy requirements Renewable energy is filledArt Basel spokesman said..

According to industry observers, the biggest impact on sustainability will ultimately come from art creators, collectors and viewers.

Individual leaders have already appeared. For example, Icelandic and Danish artist Olafur Eliasson has his studio, It will be carbon neutral within 10 years. Artist Gary Hume When Tino Sehgal Their practice also employs a “no-fly zone” approach.

Ultimately, the “most environmentally friendly” form of art transport is completely free of transport. This is a model implemented during the coronavirus pandemic associated with the rise of virtual auctions and fairs.

The world of art has returned to many of its meticulous pre-fashionable ways, but Daniel Birnbaum, a former director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the current director and curator of the arts organization of virtual reality and augmented reality. Acute artHe said that modest behavior can still make a big difference.

“What is needed is a more’localized’approach to art,” he said. “Focus on exhibitions and shows in your city or near the countryside, because you no longer have to fly big works of art around the world just to perform at a cocktail party.”

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