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.

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Frieze Reviews The Ocean After Nature

Wendy Vogel reviews ICI’s exhibition for Frieze.

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The Wire reviews The Ocean After Nature

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

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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.”

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Alaina Claire Feldman

Alaina Claire Feldman is the Director and Curator of Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) where she has organized solo and group exhibitions, performances, readings and film screenings with artists such as Minerva Cuevas, Juan Downey, Lamin Fofana, Nicolás Guagnini, May Joseph, Zeena Parkins, Nicolas Premier, Jeff Preiss, Ho Tzu Nyen and more. She teaches Curatorial Praxis in Baruch’s MA Arts Administration program and holds a degree in Art History and Critical Visual Studies from Pratt Institute and Social and Environmental Justice Studies from the Graduate Center.

Her writing on art and political ecology has appeared in Afterall, Contemporary&, e-flux journal, Flash Art, PARSE, Texte Zur Kunst and in catalogues for museums around the world. She is the editor of The Ocean After Nature and Nicolás Guagnini: Theatre of the Self, and managing editor of the Apichatpong Weerasethkul Sourcebook. Previously curated exhibitions include Peter Fend: HACE SENTIDO (Embajada, San Juan, 2018 w TV GOV) a project interrogating the environmental predatory “shock doctrine” of a post-Maria Puerto Rico, as well as Cherchez la femme/Maso et Miso Vont en Bateau (The Kitchen, New York, 2012 and Space, London, 2014), featuring video works she translated from the Centre Audiovisual Simone de Beauvoir in Paris. She was previously Director of Exhibitions at Independent Curators International where she organized dozens of projects, including The Ocean After Nature, a traveling and modular exhibition presented at seven museums around the world. Her current research is concerned with display technologies that have contributed to the production of nature/ocean as material for consumption as well as the history of natural history, aquariums, critical animal studies, and collecting & collections.


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
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