Clean Water Act

Visit the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, in Rotterdam, by February 5, and you may leave with an unlikely souvenir: bottled water. Since November, artists Lucy and Jorge Orta have been pumping murky brownish liquid into the museum from a nearby canal, then processing it through a filtration and purification machine, and selling glass bottles of clear drinkable OrtaWater to visitors for ten euros apiece. (The proceeds will go to water-purification initiatives in developing countries.) This is the second incarnation of the couple’s Water & Works exhibition, which debuted at the 2005 Venice Biennale, and just the latest in more than two decades’ worth of socially engaged art projects. “The premise of our practice is to use art as a trigger for creative initiatives,” Lucy says. “We put in place a network, test possibilities, and build on those, using our knowledge and understanding to help people in need.”

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