Noel Kassewitz

Fragonard Visits Miami
acrylic on woven canvas, buoys, net floats, rope, toner
30 x 40 in.

How does an artist prepare for climate change?

For centuries, creating paintings involved planning for their long term stability. Artists learned how to layer theirs oils in such a way as to minimize future cracking. New pigments were created that were less volatile and held their original color far longer than before. Knives were hung beneath portraits so that should a home catch fire the owner could quickly cut the painting from it’s heavy frame and toss it out the window to safety.

Today, we are facing unprecedented levels of chaos with our climate. These changes affect everything: people, economies, food systems, homes… and artwork. While there are myriad ways the change is occurring, one most concerning to me as a Miami-native is rising sea level. When homes flood, what happens to the artwork inside? Children, pets, and passports all tend to take precedent over a painting, no matter how beloved. Paintings will need to handle surviving on their own. To tackle this problem, I learned to weave and now imbed buoys & flotation devices into the very canvas of my paintings. When the sea levels rise, my paintings will float up and off the walls, living to see another day.

© Noel Kassewitz