Petro America

Now through May 4 at Carleton College: Petrochemical America Project Room

April 10, 2014 by Janette Law

Work from Petrochemical America (Aperture, 2012) is featured in a current exhibition at the Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity, Northfield, MN. Co-authored by photographer Richard Misrach and landscape architect Kate Orff, the book is an interdisciplinary exploration of the 150-mile Mississippi River corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Orff is principal of SCAPE, the lead firm on our Water Works park design project.

The Weitz Center for Creativity describes the exhibition as an open studio format juxtaposing Misrach’s large format photographs with Orff’s data visualizations:

Taken as a whole, Petrochemical America Project Room offers a penetrating look at how the petrochemical industry impacts a specific place, and invites further investigations into the implications for a global society.  

“The Mississippi River is one of our nation’s great natural treasures, like Yosemite, and yet it’s  being treated like a trash dump,” says Misrach. “But the reality is, oil is just too big. It is a huge economic driver; this nation is dependent on it in every way—for goods and jobs. The people and communities along the river will remain the sacrifice zone for the rest of us, until oil and other industries dependent on the river walk away. In the end, we needed to create a deep but more sober study of the issues, with the hopes that real, albeit less utopian, solutions can be found.”

The exhibition runs through May 4, 2014. Selected works from the exhibition will remain on view through May 31 in Carleton’s Kaemmer Family Gallery. The exhibition is toured by the Aperture Foundation.

Featured Image: Swamp and Pipeline, 1998, by Richard Misrach

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