Activist Art

Institute For Figuring’s Crochet Coral Reef project, 2005-ongoing. Photo © the IFF

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Activist Art

Gallery 180

Carl Sagan once said of our species, “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” Despite our finite existence, artists have repeatedly attempted to capture the boundless grandeur, complexity, and wonder of Nature.​

This gallery addresses artists’ responses to the impact of human activity on the earth’s ecosystems, both beneficial and destructive. The space is part art gallery, part reading room, part community gathering space, and part call to action.

The True Cost of Coal is a graphic campaign calling attention to the destructive practices of mountaintop-removal coal-mining; it was created by the Beehive Design Collective, an all-volunteer activist art collective.

The Institute For Figuring’s Bleached Bone Reef is part of the Crochet Coral Reef, the world’s largest participatory art and science project. This unique project resides at the intersection of mathematics, marine biology, environmental consciousness-raising, and community art practice.

Rooftop Gold Honey is harvested from beehives on the museum’s rooftop. A partnership of the University of Minnesota’s Bee Squad and the MIA, the beehives are part of the museum’s larger commitment to environmental sustainability. Related initiatives include the installation of low-energy LED lighting in the galleries and the creation of a rain garden.

Karleen Gardener
Director of Learning Innovation

Krista Pearson
Community Arts Associate