By Mary Bahr
“I want to change the world through art,” photographer Anne de Carbuccia tells me over our lunch on a recent August day. “If you can move just one person to take action, you have already begun to change the world.” She is unabashedly direct and intensely focused—qualities that are also evident in her photographic work, which confronts the critical issues of our time—war, pollution, climate change, and species extinction, among other things. Her upcoming exhibition ONE • One Planet One Future will be on view at Westbeth Center for the Arts from September 16 to November 21, 2016.
De Carbuccia’s photographs reimagine vanitas art, which features the skull and the hourglass as symbols of vanity and the futility of worldly pursuits. Her concept is altogether unique: Within a landscape or underwater seascape, she constructs installations out of a skull, an hourglass, and found objects on location. De Carbuccia calls these installations “time shrines,” a reference to the way in which they become part of a record of a disappearing world even as they themselves are ephemeral. The effect is astounding, if not disturbing at times. Her images upend our expectations of still life photography. De Carbuccia’s bold reimagining of classical still life composition might better be described as “live life” imagery. “I illuminate the damage, the breakage, the fragmentation. Somehow, if I can make it beautiful, I can make it one again,” de Carbuccia explains.
Her decision to host the show at Westbeth was a deeply considered one. “I am honored to be welcomed at Westbeth and to become a part of its long and important history.” Westbeth, the much-celebrated live-work complex that occupies an entire city block facing the Hudson River, has been home to such artists as Diane Arbus, Merce Cunningham, Moses Gunn, Hans Haacke, and Gil Evans. Westbeth’s current tenants include the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, the LAByrinth Theater, The New School for Drama graduate program, the performance artist group Collapsable Hole, an art gallery that recently featured a retrospective by Westbeth artist SuZen, and a new tenant, Time Shrine Foundation, which now occupies the former offices of Lou Reed.
Anne de Carbuccia founded Time Shrine Foundation, which will launch the Foundation with the debut of ONE • One Planet One Future. Through photography, film, and art installations, the Foundation highlights human-caused threats to the planet and offers actionable solutions. The Foundation also supports and partners with other organizations that share these goals.
ONE • One Planet One Future is free of charge but reservations are recommended. Opening hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday: 11:30am–6:30pm, Friday–Saturday: 12:00pm–8:30pm, Sunday: 11:30am–6:30pm. It is closed on Tuesdays. More information can be found at www.timeshrinefund.org.