Internationally recognized artist Mark Dion will visit the Sewanee campus in October. He will give a public talk Oct. 9; in addition, while on campus Dion will work with students in a humanities class, Histories of Science, Vision, and Art, taught by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson and Dr. Kelly Whitmer, and will have an opportunity to explore the Domain.
His talk, Mark Dion: Trouble Shooting and Trouble Making - Worldwide, will be held at 7 p.m. in Convocation Hall. It will consider the implications of his art practice in relation to the politics of natural history collections, preservation and taxidermy, extinction, and museum interventions.
Dion is a conceptual artist interested in natural history, field work and biology; he’s also been described as an “ecological artist” interested in the politics of natural history collections, preservation and taxidermy, extinction, and more. Since the early 1990s, he has developed a dynamic and remarkably influential art practice concerning the history of visual representation, knowledge, and the natural world. His work, which includes sculpture, installation, photography, and works on paper, along with writing, teaching and institutional collaboration, explores historical practices of organizing and studying the world and their influences on contemporary perceptions of nature.
From pseudo-archeological digs, to cross-country expeditions, to his own uniquely conceived cabinets of curiosity, Dion’s work confronts the disjunctions between artifacts and the contexts in which they are displayed for popular consumption. His spectacular collections and their display of objects present his own fictive version of “natural” history, encouraging viewers to question contemporary institutions and popular ideologies that define today’s “official” story of nature. (Left, The Incomplete Naturalist. 2015. Barnes Foundation)
Mark Dion has exhibited all over the world, including at the Museum of Natural History in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has been the focus of numerous articles in the New York Times, Artforum, Artnews, the New York Observer, and others.