You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences American University Museum 2021 Seeing Climate Change: Diane Burko, 2002-2021

Seeing Climate Change: Diane Burko, 2002-2021 Curated by Norma Broude and Mary Garrard

Ariel view of earth.

This exhibition is featured in our Museum@Home.

Painter, photographer, and climate activist Diane Burko has long been a prominent advocate for art’s role in addressing climate change. Continually traveling to some of the most affected areas around the world—the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef—she has interacted and collaborated with members of the scientific community while producing a visually compelling oeuvre that powerfully communicates the threats posed by climate change. Having previously focused on the monumental wonders of the natural world in her earlier landscape paintings, a decade ago Burko redirected her practice to address environmental damage caused by global warming. Her increasingly abstract and large-scale images are layered with visual and scientific information about the urgent challenge posed to the planet, manifested in glacial melting, coral reef bleaching, raging forest fires, and the COVID-19 pandemic. This exhibition will present many of Burko’s large-scale paintings and serial groupings, including the 56-foot-long “World Map” series, which addresses glacier and coral reef changes across the globe. Since 2018, Burko has embraced time-based media, with melting and flowing imagery that forcefully underscores her subject of climate degradation over time. The exhibition includes a selection of her “Lenticulars,” fluid animations that reference the motion of water, wind, and ice around the planet; and two videos, one on coral reefs and the other on melting ice, which are simultaneously lyrical and foreboding.

An integral part of Burko’s practice is public engagement. She is a dynamic and engaging speaker, who has participated in many interviews, lectures, and panel discussions. For examples of Burko’s art and videos of her interviews and conversations, visit her website.