OPEN CALL FOR ARTISTS WHAT’S NEXT? Outdoor Exhibition Invitation

An experimental outdoor exhibition is being organized by the Unison Art Center, a 42-year old arts and culture organization located in New Paltz, NY. This project both extends and expands the 2018 sculpture exhibition that explored Eco Materialism, the focus of a popular new book by Linda Weintraub entitled WHAT’s NEXT? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art (Intellect Books).

“Composed to Decompose,” the title of the 2019 exhibition, asserts that all organized structures (living and dead, biotic and abiotic, manufactured and grown) must succumb to disorder in order to replenish ecosystems and sustain their vitality. Death and trash are never the concluding chapters within ecological narrative of materiality. The history of the earth reveals a more enduring scenario. Within healthy ecosystems, functions related to life (building, concentrating, and organizing structure) must be balanced by processes related to death (dismantling, decomposing, and dispersing).

The curatorial committee for this exhibition is comprised of Michael Asbill (artist and SUNY New Paltz professor of sculpture), Linda Weintraub (artist and author of WHAT’s NEXT? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art) and Joel Olzak  (SUNY New Paltz intern). We sincerely hope that you will contribute to this timely artistic exploration of ecological material cycles by submitting a proposal, described below.

Sites for these installations are situated along the path that winds through woods on the grounds of the Unison Art Center. Please choose materials that will register the effects of weather, seasonal changes, and/or life cycles over the course of a year. And please explain how your artwork welcomes disintegration and decomposition as essential components of ecosystem ‘beauty’, as when ecosystems function ‘beautifully’. This will be achieved if your decomposed artwork renews and vitalizes its site and benefits the insects, plants, wildlife, and microbes that live there.

Participants acknowledge the need for artists to reject the wasteful norms of art practice that are contributing to recent increases in extinctions, depletions, and contaminations. Please join us in demonstrating that the interconnection and interdependence of ecosystems includes the production of art. We hope you will contribute to this emerging art movement by acknowledging the role of decomposition in replenishing our planet’s resources.


Artists will also be invited to exhibit two-dimensional artworks within the Unison Art Center, along with photo documentation of the initial stage of their installations and an artist’s statement. This may also be accompanied by a curatorial statement.


  • Site will be selected by you in consultation with the curators.
  • It will be prepared for you according to your specifications.
  • Outdoor installations remain in place from June 2019 to June 2020.  
  • Works must be self-sustaining (no maintenance will be provided).
  • Decomposing artworks cannot be insured.
  • If decomposition is not complete by June 2020, remains must be removed by the artist.
  • Performance and workshop proposals are welcome.

PROPOSAL CONTENTS Please submit your proposal as a pdf file electronically to:

  1. Artist’s name, telephone, email, mailing address.
  2. Bio and website (100 words maximum)  
  3. Description and/or drawing of your installation concept (150 words maximum)
  4. Explanation of your choices of medium and tools (100 words maximum)
  5. Anticipated effects of decomposition of your installation (100 words maximum)
  6. Installation requirements


May 1. Deadline for artists to commit to participating by submitting new proposals.

May 20. Artists receive decision of curators.

May – June. Sites are prepared for installation.

June 1 – 30. Artists install works.

July 21. Tentative date for the opening reception

 We look forward to hearing from you!


Michael Asbill, curator and lecturer, SUNY New Paltz

Linda Weintraub, curator and author, WHAT’s Next? Eco Materialism & Contemporary Art

Alexandra Baer , Executive Director, Unison Art Center

If you have a question please contact Michael Asbill: