‘Liquid Crystal Environment’ combines Gustav Metzger’s fascination with scientific discovery and the experience of pleasure and enriching stimulus through art © The Estate of Gustav Metzger and The Gustav Metzger Foundation. Photo: Ken Adlard
14 Feb 2022

Exhibition Climate Impact Report Published with Artists Commit

Sharing our first Climate Impact Report for a gallery exhibition

The exhibition ‘Gustav Metzger’ at our Somerset gallery in 2021 is our first to receive a carbon emissions calculation. The gallery team worked to produce an environmentally-responsible exhibition and achieve a low carbon footprint by actively discussing the environmental impact of the exhibition and the sustainability interests at the heart of Metzger’s practice.

Our Climate Impact Report for the exhibition is published with Artists Commit, an artist-led collective committed to a climate-conscious, resilient, and equitable future. Launched in November 2021, the Climate Impact Report concept was created by Artists Commit.

Source: US EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

Installation view, ‘Gustav Metzger,’ Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 2021 © The Estate of Gustav Metzger and The Gustav Metzger Foundation. Photo: Ken Adlard

The exhibition was organized in partnership with the Gustav Metzger Foundation, a charity founded upon Metzger’s death in 2017. During his lifetime, Metzger defined the organization’s mission by envisioning not only exhibitions of his work and furtherance of the political and philosophical ideas he espoused, but also through support for individuals working in the fields of the arts and environmental studies, and for initiatives ‘to combat the risk of global extinction arising from the activities of humans.’

Gustav Metzger (1926-2017) radically challenged our understanding of art, its relation to reality and our existence within society. His uncompromising commitment to combat environmental destruction was fundamental to his questioning of the role of the artist and the act of artmaking as a vehicle for change. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition of Metzger’s work in Somerset provides a focused look at works that explore the intersection between human intervention, nature and man-made environments, ideas the artist continued to interrogate over a six-decade career.

Gustav Metzger, 1962 © National Portrait Gallery, London. Photo: Ida Kar

In line with the Paris Climate Agreement of the United Nations, and in alignment with the Gallery Climate Coalition commitment, Hauser & Wirth is reducing carbon emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030. The next years are crucial in averting the worst effects of human-induced climate change and we are building sustainable practices into the DNA of our gallery. To make a substantial impact and increase our understanding, we are embracing change.

Calculating our emissions has been one of our first actions. Since 2019, we have measured our Scope 1 and 2 (energy and fuel) emissions and have recently embarked on measuring our Scope 3 (flights, freight and exhibition construction) emissions. To track and reduce emissions we have introduced carbon budgets, identifying where we can make changes to increase our decarbonisation efforts. Our reduction process is underway through a comprehensive strategy across our galleries using this metric-centric approach. Concurrently, we have enrolled in the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which will help us measure, track and monitor our reductions. We believe in transparency and share our carbon emissions as part of the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) carbon reporting tool. We support the development of a meaningful and industry-specific response to the climate emergency and we have been patrons and members of the GCC since 2020.

The multi-purpose art center in rural Somerset is a destination for experiencing art, architecture and the landscape. Photo: Jason Ingram

Appointed in April 2021, our global Head of Environmental Sustainability, Cliodhna Murphy, oversees the implementation of the gallery’s measures to achieve our reduction targets. Murphy’s role is to drive the urgent actions to decarbonize and minimise waste in our daily operations. In a dedicated position, she is our internal and external spokesperson on this subject. She is a member of the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC) industry working group and a co-lead of the GCC shipping, packaging and recycling sub-committees. For broad sustainability measures, we are switching to renewable energy in all locations; transitioning to LED lighting; decarbonising our energy in locations where we can control sources and lobbying our landlords to introduce more green energy into the buildings in which we operate. For any new location we open, we are using our targets to ensure that these developments are net zero.

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Read the Climate Impact Report (CIR) for the exhibition ‘Gustav Metzger’ at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 26 June – 12 September 2021, published on the artist-led sustainability platform Artists Commit. Launched in November 2021, the CIR concept was created by Artists Commit. Written in November 2021, this is the first CIR published by Hauser & Wirth.

This is the gallery’s first Climate Impact Report conducted with the support of Artists Commit. Alongside the carbon budgets that Hauser & Wirth will generate for future exhibitions at Somerset and other locations, colleagues can use the CIR document as a base to reflect on the full sustainability spectrum of a specific exhibition. As the central document archiving an exhibition’s sustainability metrics, the CIR is a space to reflect on exhibition planning, delivery, recycling, upcycling, waste reduction and waste afterlife considerations. This opportunity will support behavioural shifts in waste minimization, carbon emissions reduction and staff education and further the gallery’s sustainable actions, culture and processes. Learn more about how to make a Climate Impact Report on Artists Commit.

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