Five for Friday, written by a variety of MoMA staff members, is our attempt to spotlight some of the compelling, charming, and downright curious works in the Museum’s rich collection. In honor of Earth Day, here are some eco-friendy—and eco-scary—works to help you get your green on.
1. Tacita Dean. The Sun Quartet: The Green Ray. 2001
Isn’t this gorgeous? As described by the artist, the green ray is an optical phenomenon that occurs during the last moment of the sun’s setting. It’s rarely seen from land, and then only when the horizon over the sea is 100% clear. People, that means no smog or pollution.
2. Superstudio, Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, Gian Piero Frassinelli, Alessandro Magris, Roberto Magris, and Adolfo Natalini. The Continuous Monument: On the River, project, Perspective. 1969
This is just one of a series of amazing drawings from Superstudio’s Continuous Monument project, a crafty critique of contemporary urban planning. This purely theoretical project suggests ”putting cosmic order on earth” by extending a single piece of architecture over the entire world. Imagine if this had been built?
3. Micro Compact Car Smart GmbH and Hambach. Smart Car (“Smart & Pulse” Coupé). 1998
Size matters. The Smart Car was designed for comfort and minimal impact on the environment with super-low fuel consumption (at an average of 49 MPG) and eco-friendly production. What’s not to love, especially if you need to park in NYC?
4. Robert Smithson. Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island. 2005
Most famous for his his large-scale earthworks sculpture Spiral Jetty in Utah, Robert Smithson created a number of extraordinary land art projects, including Floating Island, in which a “Central Park island”—really a barge landscaped with earth, shrubbery, and rocks—was towed around Manhattan for a week in September 2005. Smithson was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1973, and this 16-minute video documents the posthumous realization of this mesmerizing work, which has a twist I just love: instead of the park being encircled by Manhattan, the park could now circle Manhattan.
5. WALL-E. 2008. USA. Directed by Andrew Stanton
What Earth Day post would be complete without an image from WALL-E, Pixar’s heartbreaking animated portrait of what we’ve done with the world in the future? (MoMA has a 35mm print of the film in its collection, and we’re screening it on July 1 and 9.) Yes, we turned it into a giant dump and had to move onto a spaceship while our planet healed itself and a lovable garbage-collecting robot tried to sort things out. My six-year-old son is completely horrified that such a thing could happen—even in someone’s imagination.