Devour the Land shines a light on the unexpected and often hidden consequences of militarism on habitats and well-being in the United States. Featuring approximately 160 photographs across 6 thematic groupings, the exhibition reveals the nationwide footprint of the U.S. military, the wide network of industries that support and supply its work, and the impacts of—and responses to—this activity.
How do photographs portray environmental damage that can be difficult to see, much less identify and measure? By posing such questions, the exhibition provides visitors a space to consider our current challenges and shared future. At the same time, the works on view also suggest how preparations for war and the aftermath can sometimes lead to surprising instances of ecological regeneration and change.
Following a trajectory that originates in the Civil War era, Devour the Land begins with the 1970s, a dynamic period for both environmental activism and photography. From there, the focus expands to our contemporary moment.
The photographers represented range from professional photographic artists and photojournalists to lesser known and emerging photographers; they include Robert Adams, Federica Armstrong, Sheila Pree Bright, Robert Del Tredici, Joshua Dudley Greer, Terry Evans, Lucas Foglia, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Sharon Gilbert, Ashley Gilbertson, David T. Hanson, Stacy Kranitz, Jin Lee, Freda Leinwand, Elaine Mayes, Susan Meiselas, Richard Misrach, Barbara Norfleet, Oscar Palacio, Mark Power, Eli Reed, Jeff Rich, Sim Chi Yin, Sharon Stewart, Robert Toedter, Stephen Tourlentes, Alex Webb, and Will Wilson.
Organized by the Harvard Art Museums. Curated by Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums.