What Can Tarot Cards Teach Us About Climate Change?

Contemporary art piece asks participants to contemplate nature and the future of the planet

New York, New York, September, 2016 – It can be hard to face a future we fear. Divination has been used by cultures throughout the world to help people navigate difficult futures. Artist James Leonard has adapted Tarot cards to help others process what he calls “overwhelming climate anxiety.” This summer he’s traveling the country, making one-day stops to give climate change divinatory readings inside a special hand-sewn tent.

The next 3 stops bring Leonard to Maine. Friday Sept. 16, 11am-5pm, he will be at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Ogunquit, ME. Saturday Sept. 17, 10am-6pm, you can find him at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, ME. And on Sunday Sept 18, noon-6pm, he is scheduled for Congress Square Park in Portland, ME. Leonard will be inside his tent, offering free, private climate change readings. Everyone is invited. Readings last approximately 15 minutes each and are given on a first-come, first-served basis.

Leonard calls his artwork “The Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies.” From the outside, the tent looks like a cross between a post-apocalyptic wigwam and a children’s blanket fort. The rainbow interior is made out of brightly colored recycled clothing. It required over 500 hours of hand sewing to complete. Detailed tea-colored ink paintings of different plant and animal species—each reportedly affected by climate change—are pinned to the outside.

Leonard explains, “A lot of thought has gone into The Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies. I wanted to create a space for contemplation, where participants can slow down, articulate questions and find clarity. Climate change is a universal concern. Art is the perfect place for expressing and evaluating concern.”

James Leonard is an internationally exhibited artist. He recently finished a 2016 artist residency at MASS MoCA. In 2015, he was artist-in-residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. When not on the road, he lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. For more information, visit www.jamesleonard.org.




Photo credit: Catherine Nolan

Artist James Leonard is traveling the country this summer, using Tarot readings to inspire intimate conversations about the impacts of climate change.







Photo credit: Melissa Blackall

The Tent of Casually Observed Phenologies creates a space for visitors to contemplate climate change.

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