The Unity of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt in the Americas
A multi-part art installation celebrating Alexander Von Humboldt’s 250 Anniversary,
November 15th through December 9th, 2019.
Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
The Unity of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt in the Americas, celebrates the 250th anniversary of the German polymath scientist Alexander Von Humboldt (1769-1859) through the work of five Philadelphia based American artists. The exhibition uses photography, video, sound, performance, painting, and sculpture, paying homage to Humboldt’s travels in the Americas, including a Philadelphia stop, in 1804.
Humboldt’s five-year trip through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba, Peru, and Mexico was a watershed journey that allowed him to develop his theories on nature not only as an interconnected system, but also helped to form his observations on man’s destructive impact on the environment; theories centuries ahead of their time and which are now currently accepted unanimously by scientists, as we face global warming and environmental devastation. The five artists represented in the exhibition come from five of the countries Humboldt visited during his five-year journey, they are: Henry Bermudez, (Venezuela), Pedro Ospina and Salome Cosmique, (Colombia), Rebecca Martell, (Mexico), and Devin Asher Cohen, (USA).
Humboldt, the most famous man of his age, (more famous than Napoleon), achieved fame through his unquenchable interest in both exploration and in the search for scientific knowledge. It was this combination as both scientist and intrepid explorer that made his travels so celebrated. His travels through the Americas redrew the map of the continent and laid the groundwork for several fields of study including, biogeography, geology, and climatology, among others. Humboldt’s name appears on more things than any other historical figure: animals, birds, plants, flowers, fish, mountains, ocean currents, national parks, waterfalls, glaciers, a basin on the moon and two asteroids, not to mention thousands of institutions worldwide bearing his name.
The exhibition organized by Casa De Duende and curated by David Acosta, Artistic Director, was made possible by a grant from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, as part of their Waterfront Arts Program. The exhibition pays tribute to Humboldt and his love of the natural world through the work of five artists for whom Humboldt has had an impact on both their thinking and work. The exhibition runs through December 9th 2019.
Henry Bermudez will display two large paper reconstructed paintings, which form part of a seven painting series dedicated to Alexander Von Humboldt, as well as several smaller botanical drawings. Pedro Ospina creates three large totem poles honoring the three clans of the Lena Lenape people (wolf, turtle and turkey) as well as the Delaware River. Salome Cosmique’s performance on opening night honors the Andean earth mother deity Pachamama mother of all living things. Rebecca Martell’s photographs of Mexican landscapes pay tribute to Humboldt’s visit to her native Puebla, while Asher Cohen’s sound installation serve as the artist’s homage to Humboldt. The sound pieces will fill the space, exuding within the setting an experiential state of being and the emotional quality, (not as observed) but as felt and imagined from the perspective of Von Humboldt during his travels from Puebla, Mexico to Philadelphia, capturing both, the oceanic sounds at sea, and the sound of the winds of arrival.
About Casa de Duende:
Casa de Duende is dedicated to presenting socially relevant art that addresses critical social issues and challenges both artists and communities to address these through art and art making.
About Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, (DRWC) DRWC is a 501(c)(3) created in January 2009, exclusively for the benefit of the City of Philadelphia and its citizens. The fundamental purpose of DRWC is to design, develop, program and maintain public amenities such as permanent and seasonal parks, trails, and streetscape improvements to transform the waterfront into a vibrant destination for recreational, cultural, and commercial activities for the residents and visitors of Philadelphia as is consistent with the goals of the Master Plan for Central Delaware. Daily programming throughout the entire year is changing the way Philadelphians see and converse about the waterfront, and is helping to create spaces and communities that connect residents and visitors to the waterfront. Visit delawareriverwaterfront.com for more information.
Thank you to David Acosta for the content of this post.
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