Whereas mainstream theories of environmental art and sustainable development consider art as a domain suitable for the application of environmentally friendly procedures, such as the circular economy, trash management and digitization, this research article focuses on the internal development of the autopoetic and self-referential art machine, which generates an art-specific sustainability. The circular environmental economy coexists with the circular art economy, which implies changes in the aesthetics and poetics of the artwork; it deploys upcycling to use art trash in creating a new, higher value object. Art-specific sustainability contributes to the power and complexity of the art machine with new conceptual interventions and devices. These devices allow art to resist threats from other fields and to redefine itself. As sustainable development agendas of international organizations take into account the social, political, and economic initiatives that promote ethics, inclusion, and tolerance, this article discusses the contributions of contemporary environmental art to expanded concepts of the political and science. In particular, art activism, in cooperation with civil society, can be an important driver in areas that parliamentary politics overlooks.