sulfur cycle

Sulfur Cycle was realized as a solo project, Options: 48, at the MCA in 1994 and was among the last exhibitions at the museums former site on Ontario Avenue. The exhibition consisted of seven one-ton stacks of gypsum wallboard that collectively contained one ton of sulfur captured in a pollution control process related to burning coal for electrical production. Sulfur diverted from the atmosphere is thereby chemically bonded in a form of synthetic gypsum. A six page brochure (reproduced below) accompanied the exhibition along with a certificate confirming a “transaction” from the SO2 sulfur emission rights trading market at the Chicago board of Trade that authorized the museum to emit one ton of sulfur into the atmosphere. This one-ton emission right expired in 2001–meaning  that this sulfur was “prevented” from being emitted into the atmosphere. This dynamic interconnection of industry, ecological interests, pollution trading markets innovation and end use as a building material are reflections of Chicago's bioregional complexity and interconnectedness.

The current status of the Sulfur Cycle project is that the single ton of sulfur that was exhibited in the former museum, now resides in the walls of the current museum.  Although never formally acquired by the museum as an artwork the ton of sulfur is permanently, yet invisibly, on display.

Project curated by Lynne Warren. Brochure essays by Lynne Warren and Dan Peterman

Upcoming: Sulfur Cycle 2.0

Twenty-five years after the original Sulfur Cycle project was realized, Sulfur Cycle 2.0 aims at a second exhibition that revisits and “excavates” the original pollution by-product as part of a uniquely sustained long term environmental art inquiry. Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in December 2020

High sulfur coal at Bailly Power station

Bailly Power station, Chesterton Indiana

7 one-ton stacks of synthetic gypsum drywall

Exhibited drywall containing one ton of diverted sulfur

model of new museum w/ sulfur location indicated