Alejandro Durán returns to Vassar

The Creative Arts Across Disciplines is proud to welcome multimedia artist, Alejandro Durán, to campus this summer. I first met Alejandro when he visited Professor Paravisini-Gebert’s course, AFRS/ENST 258: Environment and Culture in the Caribbean, in the fall of 2015. Because I was so impressed with his lecture and the conversation with students that followed, I have been in conversations with him ever since about finding a way to bring him back to Vassar.

When looking at the various  programs that engage the Vassar community during the summer months, Durán seemed like an obvious choice for a visiting artist. His work is truly interdisciplinary and could appeal to anyone studying the sciences, humanities, arts, or any combination thereof.  When you learn more about The Washed Up Project, I think it will be clear how his work with discarded objects offers an interesting alternative to the material culture explored by Universal Collection: A Mark Dion Project, currently on display in the FLLAC through next semester.

Check out a recent article from Time that lists Durán alongside other artists in celebration of “World Ocean’s Day”, celebrated on June 8th:

Please join us for the lecture, the workshop, or both. For more information, see below for the links to each event.

July 7: Washed Up: a lecture with Alejandro Durán in Rocky 200 at 5:00pm.

What is the Washed Up Project?
Washed Up is an environmental installation and photography project that transforms the international debris washing up on Mexico’s Caribbean coast into aesthetic yet disquieting works.
Over the course of this project Durán has identified plastic waste from fifty-three nations and territories on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally protected reserve and an UNESCO World Heritage site. He uses this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures that conflate the hand of man and nature. At times he distributes the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic mimics algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.
More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our culture of disposable products. The alchemy of Washed Up lies not only in transforming a trashed landscape, but in the project’s potential to raise awareness and change our relationship to consumption and waste. (

link to event on CAAD calendar:

July 21: A workshop with Alejandro Durán (The Old Bookstore in College Center)
Following a lecture on July 7th, Alejandro Durán will be returning to Vassar to share his expertise with students who are on campus during the summer. The specific content for this workshop will be presented at the end of the lecture on the 7th.
Alejandro Durán was born in Mexico City in 1974, Alejandro Durán is a multimedia artist now based in Brooklyn, New York. Through photography, installation and video, his work examines the fraught intersections of man and nature, particularly revealing the pervasive impact of consumer culture on the natural world. He received an MA in Teaching from Tufts University in 1999 and an MFA in poetry from the New School for Social Research in 2001.
Durán received En Foco’s 2011 New Works Award, was included in the 2012 Bronx Biennial of Latin American Art, and was nominated for the 2014 and 2015 Prix Pictet and the 2016 Prix Thun for Art and Ethics. He has exhibited his work at the Galería Octavio Paz at the Mexican consulate in New York and was Hunter College’s Artist-in-Residence for 2014-2015 with his solo show, Washed Up: Transforming a Trashed Landscape.

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