Artist Don ZanFagna has been working since the 1950s, creating stunning works that examine the creative potential of ecological design. Manifested through extensive journals, drawings, collages, and architectural models, his work combines environmental consciousness, technological savvy, and utopian spirit.
ZanFagna founded CEASE (Center for Ecological Action to Save the Environment) and was a speaker, along with Ralph Nader, Margaret Mead, and numerous others, at New York’s first Earth Day Teach-In at Union Square in 1970. Though presented at venues like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, ZanFagna’s work has long been underrecognized for its importance.
His Aspen Art Museum exhibition features selections from his Pulse Domes series: vividly imaginative drawings of homes that are created, constructed, and maintained entirely with organic processes and predate similar self-sustaining research environments, like the Biosphere 2, by some twenty years. Deeply interested in the rapid technological changes taking place in the 1960s and 70s—when everything from space exploration, robotics, personal computing, and biological research underwent radical upheaval—ZanFagna’s works are, in retrospect, eerily prescient and prefigure a number of vital and current artistic practices.
Born in Saunderstown, Rhode Island, in 1929, Don ZanFagna holds advanced degrees from the Universities of Michigan and Southern California in Painting, Art and Architecture. He received a Fulbright/Italian Government Grant for study in Italy 1956–7. During the 1970s and 80s he held the Department Chair in Art at Rutgers University and was sought after to lecture in ecological design. He was visiting Eco-Architecture Professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. His work is represented in private collections and has been exhibited in over 200 museums in the U.S. and Europe.