Jenny Kendler : Ecological Artist & Activist

Image Above: Music for Elephants at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA).

JENNY KENDLER (b.1980, New York City) is an interdisciplinary ecological artist, environmental activist, naturalist & wild forager whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at museums, biennials, public spaces & natural areas. She is currently the first Artist-in-Residence with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Her practice seeks to complicate the space between nature and culture, in order to re-enchant human beings' relationship with the natural world. She asks us to reexamine the idea of nature as something outside ourselves, making space to welcome the radical, transformative otherness of life on our bio-diverse Earth. Kendler helps run artist residency ACRE and art/research/activism initiative Deep Time Chicago—which is creating a project for the HKW in Berlin in 2019. Alongside an interdisciplinary team, she was recently awarded a major grant for her community-engagement project Garden for a Changing Climate, and is working on a project on climate change for Storm King which opens in May of 2018. She lives in Chicago and various forests. Read more...


2015–2018 • Community Project & Art Book
GREEN ZONES • Community co-created artist book published with Candor Arts to raise awareness and funds for a threatened tropical dry forest • Supported by a grant from the Pacific Foundation • Nosara, Costa Rica

Jan 13–Feb 25, 2018• Group Exhibition
Living Proof: flora, fauna & fossil fuelsSpace 151 • Curated by Shirley Watts • San Francisco

Opening Feb 24, 2018• Group Exhibition
Dymaxion TrajectoriesSoccer Club Club • Curated by Jeremy Bolen & Andrew Rafacz • Chicago

May 19th–Nov 2018 • Sculptural Project
Indicators: Artists on Climate ChangeStorm King Art Center • Mountainville, NY
'Indicators' featured in the New York Times

Aug–Oct 2018 • Public Project
Arts Club of Chicago • Collaborative sound project with Brian Kirkbride in the Arts Club garden • Chicago

Apr 22nd–Aug 2018 • Community Co-created Project
Garden for a Changing Climate • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/HWW grant-funded community co-created project with collaborators Lorelei Stewart and Gallery 400 (UIC), Hannah Higgins (UIC), Noah Weeth-Feinstein (UW-Madison), the American Indian Center, Sweet Water Foundation, 360 Nation and many more • Chicago

Additional Upcoming:
• Sculptural Commission for VCU's Virginia Treatment Center for Children
• Artwork for Loanwords to Live With: An Ecotopian Lexicon
• Ongoing projects with Deep Time Chicago for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin


+ NPR : Live radio interview on WBEZ's Worldview
+ Mashable's front-page Earth Day story : How one activist combines impactful art and advocacy to save the Earth
+ Chicago Tribune : Fall Arts Preview by Lori Waxman
+ Inside/Within : Interview: Jenny Kendler's Sensuous Rewilding
+ Chicago Reader : Feature Story & Video Interview
+ KPLR11 : Live TV interview for MDSTL/Pulitzer


Dec 2016–Jan 2018 • Public Project
Sculpture--->Garden • Biodegradable sculptures installed near Lake Michigan throughout the year on each solstice and equinox • Chicago Parks District • Chicago

Oct 2017 • Group Exhibition & Publication
Project for TKThe Great Poor Farm Experiment VIII: Poor & Needy • Curated by Lise Haller Baggesen Ross & Yvette Brackman • Krabbesholm Højskole • Denmark

Opened Oct 1st 2017 • Permanent Project • Biennial
A Crooked Stile3rd Terrain Biennial • Curated by Richard Medina • Chicago + the Arizona desert

Oct 7–Dec 10 2017 • Solo Exhibition
Rewilding • Ledge Gallery • Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University • East Lansing, MI

Sept 2017–Mar 2018 • Group Exhibition • Biennial
Infinite Games 50/50 • Part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial • Open House Contemporary • Organized by John Preus & Rhona Hoffman Gallery • Chicago

Sept 29 2017 • Speaker at Symposium
Botanical Speculations • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Watch video of Botanical Speculations

Sept 2017 • Visiting Artist & Special Project
Artist talk, workshop & permanently installed project in the College of DuPage's restored 18 acre prairie • Underground Library • DuPage, IL
Watch artist talk
Watch short video on Underground Library

Sept 1–Nov 15 2017 • Group Exhibition
The Unreliable Narrator with Mark Dion, Deb Sokolow & Holly Andres • Sun Valley Center for the Arts • Ketchum, ID

Aug 2017 • Visiting Artist Collective
Deep Time Chicago at ACRE • Wisconsin

June 17–July 16 2017 • Group Exhibition
Marginal Green • Goldfinch Gallery • Curated by Elizabeth Lalley • Chicago

April 2017 • Interactive Project
Bewilder (Deimatic Eyespot Camouflage)California Academy of Sciences • San Francisco

Nov 2016
Music for Elephants • Special Project for MCA Chicago • Curated by Ann Meisinger • Chicago
Read more about the project in NRDC's onEarth Magazine.
Music for Elephants covered in Chicago Magazine

July 24 – Jan 8, 2016 • Public Sound Installation
A Confounding Mimicry • Collaboration with husband Brian Kirkbride • in partnership with Experimental Sound Studio for their Florasonic series • Lincoln Park Conservatory • Chicago

Fall 2016 • Public Commission
See the Forest (For the Trees) • Sculptural garden at the Knoch Knolls Platinum LEED Nature Center • Naperville, IL

Sept 2016 • Speaking Engagement
Artist Talk & Workshop • Wexner Center for the Arts • Columbus, OH

May 31, 2016 • Interactive Projects
Peoples' Porphyry seed bomb workshop & Herd Not Seen project • MCA Studio at the Museum of Contemporary Art • Chicago

Apr 1 – May 30, 2016 • Solo Show
Bewilder | Be Wilder • SLOMA • San Luis Obispo, California
• STEAM event at Cal Poly University on Mar 30th

Jan 12 – Mar 20, 2016 • Two-Person Exhibition
Animal Umwelt • with Molly Schafer • iMOCA • Indianapolis, IN

Dec 12, 2015 – Feb 21, 2016 • Biennial
Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial: Chicago Statements • Chicago

Aug 2015 • Public Art Commission
Field of Vision : A Garden for OthersLouisville Commission on Public Art • Louisville, KY
[Field of Vision was a finalist in SxSW Eco's 'Place by Design' (watch video here) and was featured on the front page of Louisville's newspaper, The Courier-Journal]

Aug–Nov 2015 • Interactive Public Project
ReWilding New York : Community Seed StationsThe Albright-Knox Art Gallery • Commissioned by Curator of Public Art, Aaron Ott • Buffalo, NY
[ReWilding was covered in The Buffalo News and featured on the cover of The Public]

July 7, 2015 • Interactive Public Pop-up
Tell it to the Birds inhabited the Mylayne Pavilion in Millennium Park's Lurie Garden, organized by The Art Institute of Chicago & The Arts Club of Chicago

May 2015 • Cover Image
Species Traitor I featured on the cover of Poetry Magazine

April 3, 2014 • Closing Lecturer
Shapiro Research Symposium • SAIC

Jan 29 – Apr 27, 2015 • Group Show
Rooted in Soil • Curated by Laura & Farrah Fatemi • DePaul Art Museum • Chicago
Lori Waxman's review for the Chicago Tribune

Dec 12 – Feb 12, 2014 • Group Exhibit
Rooting (India): The Knowledge Project • Curated by Tricia Van Eck, Deborah Boardman & Akshay Rathore • Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India

Nov – Dec 2014 • Interactive Public Mural
A Place of Light and Wind (For Lost Prairies)The Violet Hour • Chicago

Sept 18–21, 2014 • Solo Project • Interactive Installation
Tell it to the Birds • NRDC Project Space • EXPO Chicago

Sept 11, 2014 • Panel Discussion
Climate Change/Creative Solutions • Organized by the Human Impacts Institute • Goethe-Institut Chicago

Jul 30 – Aug 1, 2014 • Public Project
Milkweed Dispersal BalloonsMarfa Dialogues / St. LouisPulitzer Foundation for the Arts • St. Louis, MO

Jan 16 – Feb 8, 2014 • Group Show
Projections AnimalièresLa Box Gallery at les Écoles Nationale Supérieures D’art • Bourges, France

Nov 2013
Delighted to be named "Chicago's Best Dressed Artist" in Newcity's Best of Chicago Issue

Jul 2013 • Public Project
Attempted Transformations, a public art project for Pitchfork & CAC is seen by 50,000 and featured in a full-page image in The Chicago Tribune

Jan 2013 • Cover Image Camouflage I (Disguise for an Endangered Bird) was on the cover of nearly 100,000 Chicago Readers

Dec 2012 • Solo exhibition
The Hall of Disappearing named one of Chicago's two best shows of 2012 by Artslant and one of Chicago's five best shows of 2012 by Hyperallergic.

View full artist CV here