Art, sustainability, and a virtual agora: Verbier ...

Art, sustainability, and a virtual agora: Verbier Art Summit 2021

Verbier Art Summit is not for profit forum, which takes place in Verbier, a Swiss town in the Valais canton, since 2017. Here, several art professionals gather to discuss urgent contemporary issues within the art world and society at large, on a global level.

This year, the summit will be accessible virtually and for free, between 20 and 30 January. New guest speakers include artist Claudia Comte, who will discuss her work, informed by the study of marine life; Tom Battin, professor of Environmental Sciences at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne; and Madeleine Schuppli, head of the department of visual arts of the Swiss Arts Council-Pro Helvetia, amongst others.

The hot topic of the different panel discussions is, according to the most urgent contemporary issues, the current relationship between art and sustainability. Resource Hungry: Our Cultured Landscape and its Ecological Impact, this year’s forum, following a discussion started in 2020, aims at shedding light on the ecological impact of the art world, especially after the outbreak of the current pandemic.

From the fragility of the world’s ecosystems to workers’ rights, from the interaction between humans and machines, to the relationship with matter in art making, what are the hardest challenges for the art world, as well as for society at large?

“It took a virus to halt aspects of our culture that were destroying the environment.”, reflects Jessica Morgan, director of the DIA Art Foundation of New York, a partner of the summit. “Can we learn from the light touch and holistic thinking of indigenous cultures that have cared for the land for generations?”. And, moreover: “Can we rethink our values?”

The conversations, this year with three more meetings and five debates, will be led by different art professionals: from directors of museums and artistic institutions, such as Beatrix Rue and Daniel Birnbaum, to artists such as Andrea Bowers and Carolina Caycedo, or the philosopher Djamila Ribeiro.

In live streaming from London, New York, Pechino, São Paulo and Verbier, each discussion will be followed by a Q&A session. Anybody can connect to the different locations, via the summit’s website and social media pages.

The meetings start on Friday 29 January, from 9 am to 5 pm, and Saturday 30 January, from 11 am to 5 pm. Registration is required via the project’s website.

Elio Ticca


Verbier Art Summit 2018. Olafur Eliasson. Foto © Frederik_ Jacobovits. Courtesy Rihannon Pickles PRVerbier Art Summit 2018. Olafur Eliasson. Foto © Frederik Jacobovits. Courtesy Rihannon Pickles PR

Verbier Art Summit 2020. Djamila Ribeiro, Joan Jonas, El Ultimo Grito, Jessica Morgan. Foto © Alpimages. Courtesy Rihannon Pickles PR

Verbier Art Summit 2020. Djamila Ribeiro. Foto © Alpimages. Courtesy Rihannon Pickles PR


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