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Exhibition: Marc Adornato’s Ruined Landscapes at the Diefenbunker Museum

By Brenda Dunn on March 29, 2018

Photo: Shawn MacDonell/Creativision

The Hacking Will Continue Until Environmental Policies Improve

It could be a political manifesto, but in fact it’s the most recent manifestation of Marc Adornato’s Ruined Landscapes painting series. Appropriately apocalyptic, the next location for his artwork will be at the Diefenbunker Museum, a 4 story underground bomb shelter built for Prime Minister John Diefenbaker during the height of the Cold War, from April 5 to July 15.

Adornato has been participating in the “hacked art” scene for years, riddling thrift store landscape paintings with toxic accidents and teams of hazmat-clad clean up crews. He debuted the series at the Ottawa Art Gallery with his show “I’ve Got Some Bad News” in the summer of 2016.

“HCMS Calgary leaks 30,000 litres of fuel into the Strait of Georgia” by Marc Adornato, 2018. On loan from the Diefenbunker Museum.

It appears that since the media is still rife with environmental disasters, the artist will continue to hammer home the dismal scenes with his typically tongue-in-cheek style of subversive satire. A dozen of the original ruined landscape paintings will show in the bunker’s Allard Gallery with a few new disasters to boot.

Adornato shared that one noteworthy painting titled “HMCS Calgary leaks 30,000 litres of fuel into the Strait of Georgia” landscape was likely painted by someone named Emma circa 1960 was actually found in the bunker and given to him by staff to “hack.” The artist then donated the piece back to the museum freshly adorned with an overturned oil tanker and a clean up crew. This painting, like nearly all in the series, is named after actual toxic accidents occurring in Canada. It is jarringly effective to see them writ large over scenes done in oils.

“Collecting samples after the Mount Polley tailings pond breach” by Marc Adornato, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Adornato has also made mention on social media of a new art catalogue that will appear as a limited edition at the show and via the artist’s website as a means of making the series as widely accessible as possible. Local sponsors have ensured the show is well equipped with giveaways, and the artist is already scattering contests and promotions across his social media (check out his Twitter and Instagram).

An artist talk at the bunker will be taking place on May 17 and the typically incendiary artist is no doubt going to have an interesting mix of strong supporters and dissenters at the show. A bus provided by Brew Donkey will shuttle Diefen-goers to the vernissage which will take place April 5.

Visit for more information about the exhibition.