Anthropocene at the Art Gallery of Ontario

This past weekend, I visited the Art Gallery of Ontario to check out its latest exhibition: Anthropocene. For those unfamiliar with the show, here is a quick review.


ABOVE: Edward Burtynsky, Dandora Landfill #3, Plastics Recycling, Nairobi, Kenya 2016 (Detail), pigment inkjet print

BELOW: Edward Burtynsky, Oil Bunkering #1, Niger Delta, Nigeria, 2016 (Detail), pigment inkjet print

I’ve long been a fan of Edward Burtynsky’s photography, and the film Manufactured Landscapes is one of my favorite documentaries. For those reasons, I was super excited to check out his latest exhibition, Anthropocene at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In it, his photographs are presented alongside the work of filmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier.

For those unfamiliar with Burtynsky’s work, he travels the world documenting the effects of humans on the ecosystem. His photographs are superbly done, beautiful, and sad.

For those unfamiliar with the term Anthropocene, it is defined as follows: From the Greek anthopos, meaning “human being” and kainos, meaning “new” or “recent.” It is the proposed current geological epoch, in which humans are the primary cause of permanent planetary change.

This is an often stunning, often depressing exhibition that will leave you with a lot to think about. Information is presented in a non-preachy manner, and viewers are left to draw their own conclusions. It is truly global in its scope, and contains images from both developed and developing nations.

Anthropocene may be the most important exhibition the Art Gallery of Ontario has had all year. If you put the time and effort in to see Infinity Mirrors, you should definitely come see this.

Antropocene is at the Art Gallery of Ontario until January 6, 2019.

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