Occupy Colby is part of the ongoing exhibition Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale That Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, initiated by the Brooklyn Rail in 2017 at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. The exhibition featured artists whose works invoke contemporary political and social issues such as human rights and equality, immigration, international relations, and the environment. This second iteration of the project at the Colby Museum focuses solely on environmental issues and particularly on climate change—perhaps now the most pressing of humanity’s concerns. The necessity of response has increased because of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, which was created within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to mediate greenhouse gas emissions with a direct effect on global warming. This exhibition seeks to amplify the urgency felt by the artists whose work is on view. Using various media, materials, and scales, they respond directly and indirectly to their manmade and natural surroundings, and with heightened awareness of our planet’s fragility they show how both must co-exist. Participating artists include Lauren Bon, Mel Chin, Justin Brice Guariglia, and Meg Webster.
Rail Curatorial Projects seeks to create productive dialogues and collaboration among artists, institutions, and communities alike. At the Colby Museum, Rail Curatorial Projects will work with the Lunder Institute for American Art to engage faculty, students, and Waterville residents in a series of cross-disciplinary responses to the work in the exhibition. Public programming will include panel discussions, poetry readings, and dance and musical performances. The Brooklyn Rail, in collaboration with the Colby Museum and the Lunder Institute for American Art, will produce and publish a special autumn 2019 issue in connection with the exhibition.