Commerce and Our Environment
The idea of commerce often brings to mind goods that are bought and sold-concrete objects that have been manufactured and traded. Everyday, from the first sip of coffee to the purchase and swipe of a metro card, we experience how commerce touches our lives. But commerce also shapes our physical world. From the dawn of human history, towns and port cities have sprang up in places that facilitated trade: New York with its harbor and rivers, Istanbul along the once famed Silk Road.
Many of the great voyages in the Age of Discovery were undertaken in the hope of opening new trade routes to the Orient. Trade has driven a huge portion of human endeavor. We thrive when it is open and healthy, suffer when it falls off. We pay a huge amount of attention to it, encourage and accommodate it; we build plants and factories to facilitate it, flattening, paving over, and polluting natural resources to stoke our growing economy.
A number of photographs in PWP’s Art of Commerce illustrate how commerce has affected our environment. A power plant framed by tall grasses provokes one to imagine our landscape prior to this industrialization. A figure carved into the wood of a post seems to want to reclaim the beauty that was found in the original tree.
As our world develops, some argue that humans have gone too far, developed too much and taken too much from nature. But just when the world begins to look like a giant concrete canvas, stripped of all beauty, some artists are urged to take things into their own hands.
The Art of Commerce will be on view at the Office of the Manhattan Borough President Gallery, at 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY., from October 4 through October 29, 2010. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM. There will be an opening reception Thursday, October 7th from 6 – 8 PM.
- Katie Mantell, Exhibitions Director
- Catherine Kirkpatrick, Archives Director