Michael Wang
Extinct in New York
On view September 19–October 31

The Arts Center at Governors Island | Lower Gallery
110 Andes Rd, New York, NY 10004
Gallery Hours: Thursday–Sundays from 12pm - 5pm

LMCC and Swiss Institute present Extinct in New York, the first institutional exhibition in the United States by American artist Michael Wang. In the gallery, four greenhouses contain a selection of plant, lichen and algae species known historically from the natural environments of New York City, but which no longer grow wild in any of the city's five boroughs.

In the months leading up to the exhibition, Wang researched, sourced, planted and tended to seeds and seedlings of these former New York City natives in his garden and studio upstate. At the Arts Center on Governors Island, these organisms are sustained within a laboratory-like installation, under the care of a team of Arts Center staff, local students and volunteers.

The gallery becomes a life-support system, temporarily housing these once native plants under artificial conditions. The exhibition is, in the words of Wang, “a snapshot of a process." The artist intends the plants to remain in the city after the close of the exhibition, in the managed spaces of urban gardens--re-introduced to the lands where they once grew wild, but persisting now only under human care. The living plants in the gallery exhibition are accompanied by writings, photographs and botanical drawings that sketch stories of ecological disappearance. Against the backdrop of these narratives, life is cultivated.

About Michael Wang

Michael Wang (Born 1981 Olney, Maryland. Lives and works New York.) uses systems that operate at a global scale as media for art: climate change, species distribution, resource allocation and the global economy. His works include Carbon Copies, an exhibition linking the production of artworks to the release of greenhouse gases, World Trade, a series tracing the trade in steel from the World Trade Center following the attacks of September 11, 2001; and Extinct in the Wild, a project that brings species that no longer exist in nature, but that persist under human care, into spaces of art. Wang’s work has been shown in Europe, North and South America, and Asia, most recently at Manifesta 12 in Palermo, Swiss Institute in New York, the Parque Cultural in Valparaíso, Fondazione Prada in Milan.


About Swiss Institute

Founded in 1986, Swiss Institute is an independent non-profit contemporary art institution based in New York City’s East Village. Dedicated to promoting forward-thinking and experimental art making through innovative exhibitions, education, and programs, Swiss Institute serves as a platform for emerging artists, catalyzes new contexts for celebrated work, and fosters appreciation for under-recognized positions. Open to the public free-of-charge, Swiss Institute seeks to explore how a national perspective can foster international conversations in the fields of visual and performing arts, design and architecture.

"Displayed as one of two quite promising inaugural exhibitions in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island, the [Extinct in New York's] calm atmosphere is more buoyant than its elegiac title would lead you to expect."


Press Release

Platanthera ciliaris, Michael Wang

Michael Wang
Extinct in New York

Explore the themes of Michael Wang's Extinct in New York.

Also on view
Yto Barrada, After Stella (Ibn Battouta)
Fig. 1 (of 6).
Cotton, linen, silk, plant extracts.

Yto Barrada
The Power of Two Suns

Upper Gallery

Yto Barrada reflects on our individual and collective reactions to the onset of disaster - can solace be found in the power of solidarity?

Extinct in New York is presented in partnership with Swiss Institute.