Living Sculptures: NRDC brings engaging environmental art to EXPO CHICAGO

Artist Vaughn Bell to join NRDC at 2013 fair

CHICAGO (September 3, 2013) - The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will present the work of Seattle-based artist and environmental advocate Vaughn Bell at EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall September 19th  - September 22nd. Last year's inaugural NRDC booth at EXPO CHICAGO featured artwork by esteemed artists Maya Lin and Gordon Matta-Clark. Bell's work continues the rich tradition of environmental activism in contemporary art, underscoring issues of sustainability, stewardship, cultivation and the complex issues involved in “ownership” of the environment.

Three of Bell’s pieces will be on display including “Metropolis,” a large-scale terrarium comprised of acrylic skyscrapers composed of native Midwestern plants and mosses. The artwork, which will be rigged from the ceiling of Navy Pier, encourages viewers to place their heads into the urban landscape, creating an immersive experience that challenges our relationship to the natural world.

NRDC will also feature “A Pack of Forests,” living, mobile sculptures by Bell that will stimulate conversations about nature and stewardship, while underscoring the fragility of our environment. Finally, a limited edition of “Pocket Biospheres,” tiny, hand-held environments, will be available for adoption during the course of the exposition. In lieu of a financial payment, adoptees sign a contract, obligating them to take care of their piece of land according to set instructions. Each adoption will be documented and displayed in a process demonstrating the vast and varied connections people have with the environment.

“Collaborations with artists like Vaughn Bell are critical to sparking dialogues and raising awareness of the environmental problems facing our communities,” said Henry Henderson, Midwest Director of NRDC. “We work on serious issues that can be complex and technical; thoughtful and engaging pieces like Bell’s break down walls and communicate the essence of these critical matters in a way everyone can appreciate.”

Tony Karman, ‎President and Director of EXPO CHICAGO remarked, “NRDC has become a key partner of EXPO. Their ongoing commitment to explore issues of the environment in contemporary art is both thought-provoking and awe-inspiring.”

Vaughn Bell, exhibiting her work in Chicago for the first time since 2007, said, “It’s an honor to exhibit at this world-class event with NRDC, an organization that reflects my commitment to the environment. I hope my work at EXPO CHICAGO inspires visitors to notice the natural world around us – especially in an urban center like Chicago – and engage with their surroundings differently.

On Friday, September 20th at 1:30pm, Henderson and Bell will join together for a special “booth talk” to discuss the exhibition. The event is open to the public and will take place at NRDC’s booth, #108, near the main entrance to Festival Hall.

Learn more about NRDC’s efforts by visiting booth #108 at EXPO CHICAGO or:

For more information about EXPO CHICAGO, including the complete schedule, visit: