Flaming Gorge Overlook, by Dong Kingman (b. 1911). Watercolor, 22×30,” of Flaming
Gorge Dam, Utah.
RICHLAND – The federal government’s use of art to help justify large dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, is the focus of a lecture about ecocriticism at noon Monday, March 21, in the East Building auditorium, WSU Tri-Cities.
“The Fine Art of Bureaucracy” will be presented by Paul Lindholt, professor of English at Eastern Washington University. He interprets the series of paintings commissioned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in the late 1960s and early 1970s, an era when the public was becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues.
The bureau paid artists to paint favorable images or “imaginative aspects” of big dams and surrounding areas. According to Lindholdt, it was an effort to “greenwash” the agency – or offset the negative environmental image developing at the time.
His research has been published in the online Journal of Ecocriticism managed by the University of British Columbia.
The presentation will include a slide show of 55 images. At least 355 pieces of art were funded by the bureau 1968-1974. Lindholdt is the first to study this art collection.
He specializes in American literature, environmental studies, ecocriticism and American studies.
The lecture is sponsored by the WSU Tri-Cities College of Liberal Arts.