NRDC Spotlights Decline of Biodiversity at EXPO CHICAGO with Frameworks of Absence by Artist and Biologist Brandon Ballengée

CHICAGO – Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will present Frameworks of Absence—an installation of 70 artworks—by Brandon Ballengée at EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, taking place at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall from September 27-30. The exhibition is presented with support from Ronald Feldman Gallery.

NRDC has presented some of the most talked about displays at EXPO and this year's exhibition is likely to turn heads for the way it addresses the frightening wave of extinctions ravaging our planet. As an artist and biologist Ballengée is known for his transdisciplinary artworks, inspired by his ecological field and laboratory research. Since 2006, his series Frameworks of Absence has focused on the long-term and continued decline of biodiversity. By physically cutting images of animals from historic prints and publications, the resulting artworks ‘frame absence’ to depict missing species lost to extinction. The removed animal snippets are burned, and participants are asked to scatter the ashes in memory to the lost species. Frameworks of Absence is accompanied by The Book of the Dead, a memory book of lost species.

RIP Audubon's Bighorn Sheep: After John James Audubon 1845 / 2016

“I started the series Frameworks of Absence to help people connect to and process mass extinction of species,” said Ballengée. “Frameworks of Absence is especially relevant today when species continue to disappear at alarming rates, yet the current administration shows a lack of interest to protect species that are on the verge of extinction, animals that we all love and that are essential for the health of our planet.”

“The Trump administration and Congress continue to eliminate wildlife protections, including wanting to make drastic changes to the Endangered Species Act,” said Elizabeth Corr, NRDC Director of Art Partnerships. “Brandon’s work reminds us what’s been lost already and will hopefully inspire viewers that we need to do more to protect wildlife.”

“We are thrilled to have NRDC involved with EXPO CHICAGO for the sixth year in a row,” said Tony Karman, President and Director “NRDC’s annual exhibitions are always captivating, informational and poignant and I am confident that this year’s artist installation will further amplify their important mission,” he added.

Ballengée’s artwork has previously been exhibited throughout the USA, internationally and was featured in the 2014 Armory Show in New York. In the summer of 2013 the first career survey of Ballengeé’s work debuted at the Château de Chamarande (Essonne, France), and travelled to the Museum Het Domein (Sittard, Netherlands) in 2014. In 2016 a 20-year retrospective of his work was held at University of Wyoming Art Museum in Laramie, Wyoming and a survey exhbition of his works related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be held in the spring of 2019 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Florida State University in Tallahasee, Florida with a new publication.

Learn more about NRDC’s efforts by visiting booth #423 at EXPO CHICAGO or: For more information about Brandon Ballengée’s work please visit and For more information about EXPO CHICAGO, including the complete schedule, visit:


About the Natural Resources Defense Council

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.


EXPO CHICAGO 2018, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, is presented by Art Expositions, LLC at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, hosting more than 135 leading International exhibitors presented alongside one of the highest quality platforms for global contemporary art and culture. Entering its seventh year as a leading international art fair, EXPO CHICAGO offers diverse programming including /Dialogues, IN/SITU, IN/SITU Outside, EXPO VIDEO, the Curatorial Forum, the Art Critics Forum, EXPO Sound and OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project. In addition, EXPO CHICAGO continues to publish THE SEEN, Chicago's International Journal of Contemporary & Modern Art. Under the leadership of President and Director Tony Karman, EXPO CHICAGO draws upon the city’s rich history as a vibrant international cultural destination, while highlighting the region’s contemporary arts community and inspiring its collector base. EXPO CHICAGO 2018 will return September 27–30, for more information on EXPO CHICAGO and EXPO ART WEEK (September 24–30, 2018) visit

About Ronald Feldman Gallery

Ronald Feldman Gallery has been at the frontier of contemporary art since 1971. The gallery is located in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City and exhibits performance, photography, new media, film, painting, drawing and sculpture. Learn more at: