The Ocean After Nature

  • Ursula Biemann, film still from Subatlantic, 2015 (detail). Courtesy of the artist.

  • Maria D. Rapicavoli, slide from Load Displacement, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

  • The Ocean After Nature, Drexciya (detail), Hugh Lane, Dublin, 2017. Photography by Ros Kavanagh.

  • An-My Lê, Manning the rail, the U.S.S. Tortuga, Java Sea, 2010. Courtesy of the artist and Murray Guy, New York.

  • The Ocean After Nature, installation view, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2016. Photography by Charlie Villyard.

  • Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, film still from The Forgotten Space, 2010. Courtesy of Icarus Films.

  • Yonatan Cohen & Rafi Segal, Territorial Map of the World (detail), 2013. Courtesy of the artists.

  • UNITED BROTHERS, Does This Soup Taste Ambivalent?, 2014 (detail). Courtesy of the artists and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

  • Mati Diop, film still from Atlantiques, 2009. Courtesy Le Fresnoy

Curated by Alaina Claire Feldman

“Our premise is that the sea remains the crucial space of globalization. Nowhere else is the disorientation, violence, and alienation of contemporary capitalism more manifest, but this truth is not self-evident, and must be approached as a puzzle, or mystery, a problem to be solved.”
— Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, 2010

For centuries, the ocean has prompted awe, figuring as a vast unknown space loaded with notions of the sublime and the exotic. In the past fifteen years however, global technological and economic shifts have triggered new concerns and understandings of the ocean. As we consider the future of our planet, today’s oceans reveal more about the consequences of human actions than ever before. The ocean and human culture, no longer thought of as separate, exist in a relationship of mutual and potentially destructive influence.

The Ocean After Nature considers the ocean as a site reflecting the ecological, cultural, political, and economic realities of a globalized world through the work of twenty artists and collectives. These internationally established and emerging artists explore new ways of representing the seascape as a means to identify and critique the various interrelated and chaotic systems of power, such as land-sea divides, the circulation of people and goods, and the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems. Featuring work in a wide variety of media—including photography, video, sculpture, music, and design—the exhibition proposes that seascapes do not only reflect power but can be instruments of power themselves.

Invoking personal themes of identity and migration, alongside more universal concerns related to tourism, trade, and the exploitation of natural resources, the artists in The Ocean After Nature respond to the intertwined factors that define this new understanding of the ocean.

Accompanying the exhibition is a publication edited by the curator and designed by Geoff Kaplan; including texts by Negar Azimi, Ursula Biemann, Yonatan Cohen and Rafi Segal, María del Carmen Carrión, Övül O. Durmusoglu, Kodwo Eshun, Patrick Flores, Ebony L. Haynes, May Joseph, Amanda Parmer, Lisa Le Feuvre, Lucy R. Lippard, Lanka Tattersall, Virgil B/G Taylor, and more. For more information on the publication, please click here.

The Ocean After Nature is a traveling exhibition curated by Alaina Claire Feldman and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, with the generous support from ICI’s International Forum and the ICI Board of Trustees.


Exhibition Interview for Radio Adelaide

Gillian Brown, Curator at The Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, was interviewed for Radio Adelaide to discuss The Ocean After Nature and Countecurrents.

Read more »

Frieze Reviews The Ocean After Nature

Wendy Vogel reviews ICI’s exhibition for Frieze.

Read more »

The Wire reviews The Ocean After Nature

Sam Lefebvre reviews The Ocean After Nature in The Wire 390.

Read more »

Artist Peter Fend Responds to “A New Map for America”

When The Ocean After Nature artist Peter Fend visited our office on April 20, 2016 to discuss his work in ICI’s upcoming exhibition, he brought along with him his annotation of the April 17 New York Times opinion piece “A New Map For America.”

Read more »


Alaina Claire Feldman

Alaina Claire Feldman is the Director / Curator of Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY). At Mishkin Gallery she has organized the first New York institutional solo exhibitions of Nicolás Guagnini, Lamin Fofana, Minvera Cuevas, Lise Soskolne and more. She was previously Director of Exhibitions at Independent Curators International (ICI) where she curated the traveling exhibition “The Ocean After Nature” and co-curated “Publishing Against the Grain”, as well as produced and managed over twenty exhibitions with guest curators from around the world. Her projects have included long-term support of artists and of art histories often overlooked by traditional Western cannons. She has curated exhibitions at The Kitchen, Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery, Zeitz MoCAA, CCA Lagos, TheCube Taipei, Anthology Film Archives, Participant Inc, Parsons / New School and more. She has lectured and taught at the University of Porto, The School of Visual Arts, The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston/Tufts, Baruch CUNY, New York University, and the Center for Feminist Pedagogy. Her writing has appeared in Afterall, Contemporary&, Flash Art, Kaleidoscope, as well as a number of exhibition catalogues for artists such as Apichatpong Weerasethkul, Martha Wilson, Renata Poljak and more. Feldman is on the international advisory board of Casa São Roque Centro de Arte. She has previously held positions at May Revue and Reena Spaulings Fine Art.



touring schedule

The College of Wooster Art Museum
Wooster, Ohio, United States
September 11, 2018 - November 18, 2018

Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design / The New School
New York, NY, United States
February 9, 2018 - April 4, 2018

TheCube Project Space
Taipei, Taiwan *abridged version
November 18, 2017 - January 28, 2018

The Hugh Lane, Dublin City Gallery
Dublin, Republic of Ireland
September 6, 2017 - January 7, 2018

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art
Adelaide, Australia
March 3, 2017 - June 9, 2017

School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts
Boston, MA, United States
January 26, 2017 - March 18, 2017

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
San Francisco, CA, United States
June 17, 2016 - August 28, 2016

Booking Info

NEW YORK, NY 10013
T: +1 212 254 8200 F: +1 212 477 4781
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)