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This project was successfully funded on April 28, 2012


by Michel Varisco


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Art has the potential to expose, inform, inspire, transform and heal. For the last five years (post hurricane Katrina), I’ve photographed the region surrounding New Orleans- the wetlands and Gulf of Mexico and observed the dramatic changes occurring around us. It seems we are at a tipping point in this ecosystems endangerment. In response, I created a series of photographs to be shown in April at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and would like to print a book to both accompany the exhibit and be available way beyond the exhibition dates, which runs through July 2012. The book, which is already designed and ready for print, needs additional funding. 

Shifting is a series that observes the dynamic movement of our lands over the course of a short but powerful geologic timeline and explores the consequences of human altercations to those lands and waters. This series explores both healthy rebuilding wetlands and lands that are dying at an unprecedented rate. While working on the series, 2 major events happened: In spring of 2010, the BP deepwater horizon oil spill caused 206 million gallons of oil and 1.8 million gallons of dispersant to be spread into the Gulf and neighboring marshes. A year later, in spring of 2011, I witnessed the Mississippi River’s highest tide in recorded history being diverted through the Morganza and Bonnet Carre Spillways resulting in land building. Through a synthesis of science and art, the book will examine both the beauty and challenges to this rare landscape while hopefully creating a shift in consciousness around sustainability and land use. 

To photograph the subject, I embedded in houseboats in the swamps during every season, also flying over the lands and waters to record dramatic transitions. During the BP oil spill, I flew with Coast Guard pilots over the regions affected and rode in boats with Wildlife and Fisheries agencies. In the exhibition I use both photography and installation to create in depth portraits of this environment. In the book, detailed descriptions accompany imagery and include essays by Anne Gisleson (co-author of How to Rebuild a City) and curator Bradley Sumrall. 

Inspired both by the raw beauty of the wetlands and by the fear of losing that treasure, I have been moved to create artwork that will inspire others to witness what I’ve seen. By identifying with place and its value, it is my hope that we will see this region in a new light and better understand what’s at stake for our collective future. The Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Surdna Foundation has generously helped us toward the realization of this upcoming show. Now we need help with the book. We will print as many books as we can raise the money for and in the event we overfund, the book will be available to a larger audience with a more affordable price tag! A heart felt thank you.


Match Funds are not currently available.

Previous donations matched by:

    • April 11, 2012 Lisa Shattuck Community Member

      Hi Michel, What beautiful images and what worthy work! The book looks awesome!

    • March 31, 2012 Ellen Wallenstein Artist

      hi michel, good luck with this. a great project that i hope gets funding. just keep at it; remind people about the due date (try using mailchimp or another free mail service)....and don't despair, expect most pledges to come in the last week. remind your friends closer to the due date....everyone is a procrastinator!