Free as Air and Water

An exhibition of diverse works exploring the confluence of
art, access to resources, human rights, political ecology and environmental justice



First event to launch public use of 41 Cooper Gallery, an innovative space in
Cooper Union’s new academic facility, built to platinum LEED standards, at 41 Cooper Square


WHAT:
          Free as Air and Water, a group exhibition that features a diverse array of artistic works that will explore the
relationship between art, ecology, and  human rights , is part of The Cooper Union’s 150th anniversary celebration (opening:
10/12, closing 10/27). The show marks the opening of 41 Cooper Gallery, an innovative gallery space housed in the college’s
new academic, sustainable building at 41 Cooper Square . The group exhibition will examine the spirit of a historic quote by
Cooper Union’s founder Peter Cooper: “Education should be Free as Air and Water.” Recognizing the difference between then
(1859) and now (2009), the privatization of air, water and land has significantly impacted the environment and has created many
challenges for citizens and subjects. Free as Air and Water will pose questions about our contemporary moment, linking a broad
set of issues such a political ecology and the role of art in relation to the environment.













Artists participating in Free as Air and Water include: Allora & Calzadilla, Amy Balkin, Robert Bordo, Bruce High
Quality, Ross Cisneros, Amy Franceschini and Free Soil, Andrea Geyer, Hans Haacke, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Runo
Lagomarsino, Marjetica Potrč, Temporary Services, Oscar Tuazon, and Lidwien Van de Ven, to name a few. In
connection with the exhibition, Cooper Union’s Great Hall
will house two panel discussions: Free as Air and Water
Symposium I: Artistic responses to Self-Sustainability and Climate Change (10/12, 5-7pm) and Free as Air and Water Symposium
II: Art in relation to Human Rights and the Freedom of Expression (10/27, 5-8pm). This project was funded in part by generous
support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Robert Lehman Foundation.

EXHIBITION DETAILS
WHEN:
          Opening Reception: Monday October 12th, 2009, 7-9pm
Exhibition on view: Monday –October 12, 2009
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 – 6pm

WHERE:         41 Cooper Gallery
The Cooper Union School of Art, 41 Cooper Square (3rd Ave. b/w 6th and 7th Sts.), Lower Level 1, New York, NY 10003 ,
Subways: Astor Place (6), 8th Street (N, R, W)

SYMPOSIA DETAILS
WHEN:   
         Free as Air and Water Symposium I: Artistic responses to Self-Sustainability and Climate Change,Monday,
October12, 2009, 5-7pm
The Cooper Union, Great Hall, 7 East 7th Street, 2nd Floor (b/w 3rd and4th Aves.), New York, NY 10003
Subways: Astor Place (6), 8th Street (N, R, W)

Free as Air and Water Symposium II: Art in relation to Human Rights and the Freedom of Expression, Monday,
October 12, 2009, 7 to 9 pm
The Cooper Union, The Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square


FOR MORE INFORMATION:  212.353.4200 or www.cooper.edu

* * *
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a distinguished private college of art, architecture and
engineering founded in 1859 by Peter Cooper, an inventor, industrialist and philanthropist. Since its founding, all
admitted students have received full-tuition scholarships.
The New York Optimist
Allora & Calzadilla, Returning A Sound,
2004; video still; Single Channel Video with
Sound, 5:42
Copyright Allora & Calzadilla; Courtesy
Gladstone Gallery
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