Xavier Cortada created art installations in the Earth’s poles to generate awareness about global climate change: In 2007, an NSF Antarctic Artist and Writer’s Program Fellow, the artist used the moving ice sheet beneath the South Pole as an instrument to mark time; the art piece will be completed in 150,000 years. In 2008, he planted a green flag at the North Pole to reclaim it for nature and launch a reforestation eco-art effort.
Since 2011, Xavier Cortada has based his engaged art-science practice at Florida International University. He serves as Artist-in-Residence at FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society, the FIU College of Arts, Sciences & Education, and the FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts.
Cortada often collaborates with scientists in his art-making:
At CERN, Cortada worked with a physicist to develop a site-specific art installation capturing the five search strategies which the CMS experiment has used to discover a new Higgs-like particle. The five giant banners hang at the location (100m below the ground) where the particle was discovered.
He has also worked with a population geneticist on a project exploring our ancestral journeys out of Africa 60,000 years ago, with a molecular biologist to synthesize an actual DNA strand made from a sequence randomly generated by participants visiting his museum exhibit, and with botanists in eco-art projects to reforest mangroves, native trees and wildflowers.
Cortada is currently working with scientists at Hubbard Brook LTER on a water cycle visualization project driven by real-time data collected at a watershed in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
At Florida International University, Cortada is collaborating with Florida Coastal Everglades LTER scientists in using the diatoms they study to engage t sea level rise in the century to come.o address sea level rise and environmental degredation.
The Miami artist has worked with groups globally to produce numerous collaborative art projects, including peace murals in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama, AIDS murals in Switzerland and South Africa, juvenile justice murals and projects in Miami and Philadelphia, and eco-art projects in Taiwan, Hawaii, Holland and Latvia.
Cortada has also been commissioned to create art for the White House, the World Bank, the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Governor’s Mansion, Florida Botanical Gardens, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, the Miami Art Museum, the Miami Science Museum, Museum of Florida History, and the Frost Art Museum.
His work is in the collections of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the NSU Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, the Whatcom Museum, the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum and the MDC Museum of Art + Design.
Corporations such as General Mills, Nike, Heineken and Hershey’s have commissioned his art. Publishers like McDougal and Random House have featured it in school textbooks and publications. His work has also been featured in National Geographic TV and the Discovery Channel.
Cortada, who was born in Albany, New York and grew up in Miami, holds degrees from the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Business and School of Law.