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Artists Mathew Moore (Phoenix) and Clare Patey (London) collaborate on a project centered on the issue of endangered elements in the periodic table, specifically copper. Copper plays a major role in Arizona’s history and in its current economic, environmental and cultural life. Cu²⁹ explores the process of staking a claim, the idea of owning the Earth’s natural resources, and our dependence on copper for everything from saucepans to cellphones.
The artists’ company, Copper Undergound, has its corporate headquarters in the museum gallery, where a massive three-dimensional periodic table doubles as seating. Artworks from the ASU Art Museum’s collection, together with objects and their stories collected from the community, trace the extraction of copper from the ground to its use by artists in their studios, electricians and plumbers in houses, and chefs in their kitchens.
With these installations, the artists tackle issues of resource scarcity and the need to change patterns of human consumption. They point toward and demonstrate solutions like closed loop recycling and mining the urban environment. The project is accompanied by programs co-hosted by ASU departments. The artists collaborated with ASU students and faculty from the School of Art, the Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Earth and Space Exploration, and students from Marcos di Niza High School in Tempe on research, installations and information in the galleries.
Cu²⁹: Mining for You is generously supported by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, the City of Tempe, Dr. Eric Jungermann, Tana and Ridge Smidt, Donna and Howard Stone, the British Council, Target, the Advisory Board of the ASU Art Museum, Friends of the ASU Art Museum, Four Points Sheraton and the Wilhelmine Prinzen Endowment at the ASU Art Museum.