photo by Gregory ColbertAs The Gates exhibit in Central Park closes, another enviro-themed art piece will take its place. The equally ambitious project will feature some 200 large-scale photographs, a theater running an hour-long film on continuous loop, and a “floating library” featuring pages of the artist’s writings projected onto screens.

The multimedia exhibition is the work of Canadian photographer Gregory Colbert, whose collection includes images of humans communing, or rather “collaborating” with animals ranging from elephants to cheetahs to whales. “When you collaborate across species and break down those barriers, extraordinary things happen,” Colbert says of his work. Colbert commissioned an architect to design a space to house his one-man show “Ashes and Snow,” and the result is the Nomadic Museum, the world’s largest traveling structure, which will remain on Manhattan’s Pier 54 on the Hudson River until June 6. The 4,500-square-foot museum is constructed almost entirely of reusable and recyclable materials including steel shipping containers and giant columns of reinforced paper tubing. The entire exhibit structure will be transported to Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, and Beijing for future shows.

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Colbert doesn’t describe himself as an environmental activist, but does say he wants his art to make an impact outside the art world:

It is about inclusion, he says. It is about reconnecting people to the natural world. “Is this project a celebration of living nature? Or is this project a requiem?” he asks. “We’re going to find out probably in the next 15 to 20 years.”

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