GREETINGS FROM SALTON SEA
Greetings from the Salton Sea is a book, website and installation project documenting the natural and built environment of the Salton Sea—an ecologically challenged saline body of water located in Southern California near the Mexican border. The project discusses the historical, social, and ecological background of this unique place through photography, text, archival real estate promotion films, and collected objects.
Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905-2005 was published by the Center for American Places in 2005 and is now available in paperback. The publication was funded, in part, by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. To purchase a signed and inscribed copy of the paperback edition through PayPal, please click here.
Photographs from Greetings from the Salton Sea are included in the Nevada Museum of Art's Altered Landscape Collection. Stringfellow's photograph "Abandoned Trailer, Bombay Beach, CA" was featured in the The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment co-published by Rizzoli Press/Nevada Museum of Art in 2011. The NMA's Center for Art + Environment acquired the research archive for this project during 2012. These Days host, Tom Fudge of San Diego NPR affiliate, KPBS interviewed Kim Stringfellow for the 100th anniversary of the Salton Sea's creation on November 9th, 2006.
In 1905 and 1906, California’s largest inland body of water—the Salton Sea—was formed when Colorado River levees broke below the California-Mexico border. Great floodwaters filled the depression previously known as the Salton Sink—which, at its peak, covered upwards of 400 square miles—creating an immediate sanctuary for birds and opportunities for future development.
During the past 100 years, numerous real estate development schemes arose along the shores of the Salton Sea. Frank Sinatra, Desi Arnaz, President Eisenhower, Jerry Lewis, and the Beach Boys all frequented the area and during the 1960s tourists visited the Salton Sea in numbers that, at times, exceeded tourism in Yosemite.
By the 1980s, however, the Salton Sea’s biologically overburdened system resulted in the near abandonment of the area’s resorts and communities with shoreline flooding, massive fish and bird die-offs reflecting the escalating environmental harm.
The future of the Salton Sea is uncertain. It remains a major habitat and stopover to more than 400 resident and migratory avian species; but rapidly increasing salinity and an impending water transfer to ever-expanding Southern California communities complicate the future environmental picture.
Kim Stringfellow’s detailed visual and historical account conducted from 1998 through to the Sea's centenary in 2005 highlights one of California’s and indeed, America’s most fascinating and complex landscape histories at a time when the management of an entire regional ecosystem is at risk.
- Desertscapes: Desert Passage, Marks Art Center, Palm Desert, CA
- The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
- EcoCultures, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
- HALF LIFE: Patterns of Change (Eve Andrée Laramée/Kim Stringfellow), Santa Fe Art Institute, NM
- Critical Landscapes: Kim Stringfellow, Hyde Art Gallery, Grossmont Community College, El Cajon, CA
- Citizen Artists Making Emphatic Arguments, Casa de Tunel Art Center, Tijuana, Mexico
- Future Of Nations: Citizen Artists Making Emphatic Arguments, 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA
- Paradise Regained: Visionary Ecology and the Terrain of Ideals, Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA
- Ecotopia: The Second Triennial of Photography and Video, International Center for Photography (ICP), New York, NY
- A Better World (solo exhibit), summer art programming series, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI
- Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905–2005 (book release/solo exhibit), Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
- Speculative Terrain: Recent Views of the Southern California Landscape from San Diego to Santa Barbara, Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
- Speculative Terrain: Recent Views of the Southern California Landscape from San Diego to Santa Barbara, Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA
- Tender Landscape: Artists Respond to Human Involvement in the Natural World, Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, GA
- Greetings from the Salton Sea (book fundraiser event), Circle Elephant Art, Los Angeles, CA
- Speculative Terrain: Recent Views of the Southern California Landscape from San Diego to Santa Barbara, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA
- Paisajes Toxicos, El Reino del Mundo Gallery, Bibliotéca Nacional José Martí, Havana, Cuba
- Toxic Landscapes: Artists Examine the Environment, Puffin Cultural Forum, Teaneck, NJ
- Toxic Landscapes: Artists Examine the Environment, Rachel Carson Institute, Chatham College, Pittsburg, PA
- Greetings from the Salton Sea, Gallery Two, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
- Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
- The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE, Miami, FL
Click on the title to link to full article.
- Desertscapes: Desert Passage at Marks Art Center, Palm Desert, CA
- art ltd. article of High (& Low) Desert Artists
- Salton Sea portfolio featured on Zocalo Public Square
- NMA acquires Greetings from the Salton Sea archive for the Center for Art + Environment
- The Altered Landscape: Photographs of a Changing Environment @ Nevada Museum of Art
- EcoCultures @ George Mason University
- HALF LIFE: Patterns of Change at the Santa Fe Art Institute
- Salton Sea Museum @ North Shore hosts group show of SoCAL Artists
- “Critical Landscapes” opens at Hyde Art Gallery at Grossmont Community College
- SEED Magazine reviews Ecotopia at ICP
- KPBS’s Tom Fudge (These Days) interviews Kim Stringfellow
- Roberta Smith (New York Times) reviews Ecotopia at ICP