Join us for the upcoming panel discussion “An Uncertain Climate: Alabama in the Age of Climate Change” at 4:00pm on Tuesday, September 21st. The panel will be presented in person at Gorgas Library, Camellia Room 205 and over zoom. Please preregister for zoom attendance.

An Art Exhibition Presented at
The University of Alabama Art Gallery at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center

August 6 —September 24, 2021

Generous support provided by a grant from the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative, University of Alabama

Dangerous Landscapes places contemporary photographs of chemical and fossil fuel industries in West Alabama by artist Allison Grant in dialog with large-scale reproductions of nineteenth-century views of progress published in the 1872 two-volume book Picturesque America. Climate Change—the largest environmental challenge of our time—is the result of a continuous escalation of ideas of progress forged in the nineteenth century when coal-fired factories began churning out goods and combustion engines accelerated the movement of people and products across the globe.  Whereas nineteenth-century art placed railroads and factories in expansive horizons that symbolized boundless possibility, Ms. Grant’s work gestures toward a reoriented view of the romantic landscape—one where human production and consumption has become fully entangled with the natural world. Her works suggest a narrowing of options as flora, fauna, and human populations are threatened by particulates, toxins, and heat-trapping carbon dioxide spread through the atmosphere and embedded in the terrain. The landscapes of the nineteenth century offered a bright pathway to the future; Ms. Grant’s photographs show the complexities of that legacy as we collectively face looming environmental challenges.

Teresa Cribelli, PhD, UA Department of History