Sandoz Feb 10 1987, 1987

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Donald Sultan's landscape paintings, almost all of which he refers to as "events," are about industrial disasters. They warn of human ignorance, and imminent threats to postindustrial civilization. This painting references the 1986 Sandoz chemical spill at the Sandoz agrochemical storehouse in Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland. This major environmental disaster was caused by a fire; its subsequent extinguishing released toxic compounds into the air and resulted in tons of pollutants entering the Rhine River, turning it red. According to Sultan, “The series speaks to the impermanence of all things. The largest cities, the biggest structures, the most powerful empires—everything dies. Man is inherently self-destructive, and whatever is built will eventually be destroyed... That’s what the works talk about: life and death.”

Details
Title
Sandoz Feb 10 1987
Artist Life
born 1951
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2019.132.3a-d
Curator Approved

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