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Vulnerable Landscapes

Vulnerable Landscapes depicts an island at risk in the heart of the Nation’s largest city. This interdisciplinary exhibition centers the shorelines at the forefront of climate change in one of New York City’s most vulnerable landscapes: Staten Island. The borough faces particular challenges due to its geography and history, with industry and community concentrated where water meets ground.

This exhibition examines the shared space between the built and natural environment and highlights local individuals advocating for climate justice and a deeper connection to where we live. Themes of resistance, access, change, and recovery are conveyed through new works of contemporary art, scientific endeavors aimed at resiliency efforts, and art and archival materials from the museum’s collection. Vulnerable Landscapes circumnavigates Staten Island illuminating the past to shed light on the future.

Rylee Eterginoso, Curator

A rust colored creek running through a forest

Tappen’s Creek in Clay Pit Ponds Park Part of the series Water Towns: Staten Island Nathan Kensinger (b. 1979, American) Photograph, 2020


Billion Oyster Project, James Vincent Brice, Nate Dorr, Sarah Nelson Wright & Edrex Fontanilla, Nataki Hewling, HERShot students: Madison Davis, Alexandria Anderson, Savannah Washington, Soojin Yoonsmith), Nathan Kensinger for NYC H2O, Living Breakwaters: SCAPE, Michael McWeeney, Beryl Thurman, and Sarah Yuster.

Presented alongside paintings from the Museum’s collection by Diana Horowitz and Amer Kobaslija.

In conjunction with Vulnerable Landscapes, works in the Elizabeth Egbert Gallery have been reinterpreted as documents of place, exploring the borough’s changing landscape through artwork from the Museum’s collection. Staten Island continues a balancing act between the urban and rural aspects of its character. This contrast is highlighted in Staten Island: SEEN with works on view by Paul Caranicas, Michael Falco, Cynthia Mailman, Bill Murphy, and Lenora Paglia.

“The more you know about your environment, the better advocate you can be for Staten Island. And that’s what Staten Island really needs, it needs more advocates, it needs more people that think through the process.”

—Beryl Thurman, North Shore Waterfront Conservancy

Preview selection of work

Major support of Vulnerable Landscapes is provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation and by National Grid.


Additional support provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Read the full press release here.