Storm Cloud: Picturing the Origins of Our Climate Crisis

Sept. 14, 2024–Jan. 6, 2025 | Storm Cloud analyzes the impact of industrialization and a globalized economy on everyday life from 1780 to 1930, as charted by scientists, artists, and writers, and contextualizes the current climate crisis within this historical framework.

Storm Cloud: Picturing the Origins of Our Climate Crisis traces the rise of environmental awareness in the 19th century—an age of rapid industrialization in the English-speaking world as well as a period in which the sciences of geology, paleontology, meteorology, and ecology developed. The title comes from a lecture by the writer and art critic John Ruskin, in which he described the changing appearance of the sky due to industrial pollution. British and American visual and literary artworks by the Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelites, and members of the Arts and Crafts movement are displayed alongside key scientific texts and images, as well as works by early 20th-century preservationists John Muir and Mary Hunter Austin. The exhibition also documents water use and oil extraction in the Los Angeles region in the early 20th century. Through nearly 200 items drawn from The Huntington’s collections and on loan from collections in the United States and Britain, Storm Cloud places our current climate crisis in its historical context, examining the profound changes that industrialization and a globalized economy have wrought on everyday life, as charted by scientists, artists, and writers for over 150 years.

This exhibition is made possible with support from Getty through its PST ART: Art & Science Collide initiative.

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Science Initiative and the Douglas and Eunice Erb Goodan Endowment. Additional funding is provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation Exhibition and Education Endowment, The Melvin R. Seiden-Janine Luke Exhibition Fund in memory of Robert F. Erburu, and the Boone Foundation.

This exhibition is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Red sun dial logo with text reading PST Art

logo for the National Endowment for The Arts