Quick hits on three exhibits at the Three Rivers Arts Festival:
New federal limits on power-plant emissions have critics bemoaning a "war on coal." New Mexico-based photographer Carlan Tapp's The China Express explores Big Coal's war on us.
The 40 black-and-white prints trace the route strip-mined U.S. coal would take from Wyoming's Powder River Basin to the site of a proposed shipping terminal in Puget Sound. Mining has already scarred the land and drained ranchland wells and streams, even as open rail-cars scatter coal dust far and wide. The 2,980-foot-long wharf and big stockyard would pave over pristine shorefront held sacred to Native Americans ... all to facilitate shipping coal to energy-hungry China and India. Two short accompanying videos by Tapp (a former assistant to Ansel Adams) feature interviews with rancher L.J. Turner and Lummi tribal official Jay Julius. Trust Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Ave.
As public art goes, Elizabeth Abeyta's "O:ne:ka'" is both quite accessible and rather cryptic. It's an installation of some 3,000 donated T-shirts displayed on big wooden frames in Point State Park's "underpass" pond. Anyone can enjoy spotting colorful shirts touting everything from Hello Kitty to Banksy, Dunder Mifflin and Wrestlemania XVIII. But what's it about?
Seen from above, the frames spell out "O:ne:ka'," Seneca for water, and Abeyta's accompanying text notes that it takes 700 gallons of water to make a single cotton T-shirt. Multiply by 2 billion shirts a year worldwide. One might ask whether we really need so many of these ubiquitous and (clearly) disposable garments; Abeyta merely requests that you show up after noon on Mon., June 16, to help her tear down by taking a shirt (or 20) for reuse in lieu of disposal. Point State Park
Also critiquing disposal is Rose Clancy's cleverly titled "Diversion." You'll have to look for it: Stashed around back of the Fort Pitt Blockhouse, it's a small mound with a two-sided vertical display. One side explains that landfilling organic waste, such as food, is bad because it removes nutrients from the food web. The other face explains how composting solves that problem. If Clancy's artfully lettered text is a little hard to read, it's still a good-looking display, and a hands-on element lets you create a "compostable sculpture" (of cardboard, seeds, etc.) to take home and get you started. Point State Park