Free as Air and Water

Free as Air and Water

Allora & Calzadilla, Amy Balkin, Robert Bordo, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Ross Cisneros, Amy Franceschini and Free Soil, Andrea Geyer, Hans Haacke, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Runo Lagomarsino, Andrea Polli, Marjetica PotrĨ, Simon Starling, Temporary Services, Oscar Tuazon, Lidwien Van de Ven

Curated by Saskia Bos and Steven Lam

Opening Reception: Wednesday, September 16, 2009, 7-9pm
Exhibition on view: September 16-October 27, 2009
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6pm

41 Cooper Gallery
The Cooper Union School of Art, 41 Cooper Square (3rd Ave. b/w 6th and 7th Sts.)
Lower Level 1,
NYC, NY 10003

The Cooper Union School of Art's exhibition Free as Air and Water opens Wednesday, September 16, 2009 and will run to Saturday, October 27, 2009. In connection with the exhibition there will be a series of conferences, the first before the opening reception, 9/16, from 5 to 7 pm in The Great Hall and the second on 10/12 from 7 to 9 pm in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium.

The exhibition takes Peter Cooper's quote that "Education should be Free as Air and Water" as a starting point. The exhibition addresses the spirit of this statement by recognizing the difference between then (1859) and now (2009). Today, air, water, land, an all are all subordinated to the logic of privatization impacting the environment in challenging ways. As the past few decades have witnessed how global power has systematically distributed the world's resources in unfair ways, concerns such as human rights become increasingly tied to issues involving land, space, and environmental justice.

Free as Air and Water poses these questions for our contemporary moment linking a broad set of issues such as public access to resources, political ecology, and governmentality within a group exhibition that features a diverse array of artistic operations and tactics. Featuring projects that are rigorous and poetic in its conceptual processes, the exhibition provides a needed density when one discusses the role of art in relation to ecology.

Free as Air and Water inaugurates the 41 Cooper Gallery's exhibition program to the public and is scheduled to open along with the New Academic Building in September 2009, which commemorates Cooper Union's 150th anniversary. The building designed by Thom Mayne and the architectural firm, Morphosis, inaugurates the first green academic laboratory building in NYC.

Free as Air and Water Symposium I: Artistic Responses to Self-Sustainability and Climate Change
Amy Balkin, Hans Haacke, Yates McKee, Andrea Polli, Marjetica PotrĨ, moderated by Doug Ashford

Wednesday, September 16, 5- 7 pm (before the reception)
The Cooper Union, Great Hall, 7 East 7th Street

Free as Air and Water Symposium II: Art in relation to Human Rights and the Freedom of Expression
Doug Ashford, Andrea Geyer, Paul Ramirez Jonas, among others

Monday, October 12, 2009, 7 to 9 pm
The Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square

A catalog will be produced documenting the symposia and exhibition and will be available to purchase after the exhibition. Please contact the Cooper Union School of Art or check the website for additional information.

This project was funded in part by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and Duggal Visual Solutions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 212.353.4200,,

41 Cooper Gallery
The Cooper Union
41 Cooper Square (lower level)
New York, NY 10003-7120
Phone: 212-353-4200

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11-6 p.m. (Mondays by appointment only)