Marina Zurkow focuses her work on the intersection of nature and culture, offering wry and pointed critiques of this perilously dysfunctional relationship. She has spent extensive amounts of time researching what she refers to as “wicked problems” involving invasive species, superfund sites, and a worldwide dependence on petrochemicals. During a two-week residency supported by the Houston-based art center DiverseWorks, Zurkow traveled to Texas’s Permian Basin, from Marfa to Midland, meeting with geologists, naturalists, cattlemen, oilmen, and activists. Most everyone who lives on the U.S. power grid relies on petrochemicals for food, shelter, clothing, and mobility; yet few realize that the oil-based products that fuel so much of our lives emerge from this expansive plateau known as “The Big Empty.” Oil excavation relies on vast amounts of water taken from a semi-arid plain. The Thirsty Bird offers parallel narratives on two essential, yet incompatible elements: oil and water.
Marina Zurkow: The Thirsty Bird is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator.
Marina Zurkow (b. 1962, New York City) produces work that spans gallery installations and unconventional public participatory projects. Recent solo exhibitions of her work include bitforms gallery, New York; Chronus Art Center, Shanghai; and Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey. Her work has also been featured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.; Borusan Collection, Istanbul; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; Sundance Film Festival, Utah; Rotterdam Film Festival, Netherlands; and the Seoul Media City Biennial, Korea, among others. Zurkow is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow. She has also been granted awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Creative Capital. She is a faculty member of the Bennington College Public Action MFA program and the ITP / Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, and is represented by bitforms gallery, New York.