Chris Jordan : “Edge-walking the lines between art and activism” April 28, 2014 – Posted in: Art, Books and Art, Photography – Tags: ,

E Pluribus Unum, 2010, image via Yes!

It’s hard not to appreciate the work of Chris Jordan.

His work Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption
(2003 – 2005)  and his ongoing series, Midway: Message from the Gyre (2009 – Current) give us some of the most haunting visuals of the new century and are a stark reminder of our distance to the precipice.

Here’s a look at some other of his works that lean our way:

E Pluribus Unum (pictured above):

a 24 feet square, composed of aluminum panels laser etched with the names of “one million organizations around the world that are devoted to peace, environmental stewardship, social justice, and the preservation of diverse and indigenous culture. The actual number of such organizations is unknown, but estimates range between one and two million, and growing.

chris jordan

detail from E Pluribus Unum, 2010

A  mandala represents the vast network of altruistic human organizations spread out across the world, all working in parallel together. Despite their enormous diversity of size, focus, and geographic location, they are all united around a set of core values that places compassion and stewardship as highest priorities. The hundreds of millions of individuals who are creating and running these organizations bring a nourishing culture of passion, imagination, and citizenship to this process. In that way I think of this piece as being like a compass, pointing toward a true source of hope and inspiration for our times.

Wow! And then there are these two pieces from his ongoing series Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait (2006 – Current).

chris jordan running the numbers

 Building Blocks, 2013. 14×20 feet, in 70 2×2-foot panels

Depicts 1.2 million children’s building blocks, equal to the number of students who drop out of high school every year in the U.S. This averages about 7000 students per school day.

Silent Spring:

Chris-Jordan Silent-Spring-2014--drawings-by-Rebecca-Clark-


Depicts 183,000 birds, equal to the estimated number of birds that die in the United States every day from exposure to agricultural pesticides.

chris jordan silent spring

Silent Spring, 2014. 44×58″ and 60×80″; made from 28 graphite drawings by Rebecca Clark
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