Oil Spill #1, Rem Forza, Gulf of Mexico

Edward Burtynsky, Canadian, born 1955


May 11, 2010

Digital chromogenic color print


Sheet: 39 × 52 in. (99.1 × 132.1 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Nancy and Thomas F. O’Neil III, Class of 1979



Place Made: Canada, North America


21st century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


What has created this strangely beautiful grayish pattern of icicle-like forms? It is the chemical dispersant used to clean up the catastrophic 2010 BP oil spill caused by an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit. The blast killed 11 people and dumped approximately 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In contrast to the more common sea level images of the spill, Edward Burtynsky’s birds-eye view accentuates the horrifying scale of the disaster. It also reflects his practice of capturing eerily beautiful compositions of troubling subjects—especially humanity’s negative environmental impact around the globe.

From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

ENGS 7.02, Climate Change, Mary Albert, Winter 2019

ENVS 7, Ecopyschology, Terry Osborne, Winter 2019

ANTH 12.26, GEOG 68, Environmental Justice, Maron Greenleaf, Winter 2019

ENGL 75.2, Climate Fiction, Alysia Garrison, Spring 2019

HIST 23, American History since 1980, Julie Rabig, Spring 2020

Exhibition History

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 20- July 24, 2022.

Waterways: Tension and Flow, Harrington Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 4-August 23, 2015.


Paul Kuhn Gallery, Calgary, Alberta; sold to Nancy and Thomas O'Neil III, Baltimore, Maryland, January 28, 2011; given to present collection, 2014.

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