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Fall 2020 Fine Arts Lecture Series: Mark Dion
Mark Dion (born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1961) lives in New York and works worldwide. His work examines the ways dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological, popular and scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between "objective" (rational) scientific methods and "subjective" (irrational) influences. The artist’s spectacular and often fantastical curiosity cabinets, modeled on Wunderkammen of the sixteenth century, exalt atypical orderings of objects and specimens. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Mark Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.
He has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Lucida Art Award (2008). He has had major exhibitions at Miami Art Museum (2006); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004); The British Museum of Natural History (2007); and Tate Gallery, London (1999). "Neukom Vivarium" (2006), a permanent outdoor installation and learning lab for the Olympic Sculpture Park, was commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum. In 2012, his work was included in dOCUMENTA 13, curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev in Kassel, Germany. Dion produced a major permanent commission, ‘OCEANOMANIA: Souvenirs of Mysterious Seas’ for the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.
He is the co-director of Mildred's Lane, an innovative visual art education and residency program in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.
Numerous books and catalogs have appeared on Dion and his work including, "Mark Dion: Concerning Hunting" (2008), "The Marvelous Museum: Orphans, Curiosities, and Treasures: A Mark Dion Project" (2010) "Oceanomania" (2011) and "The Academy of Things" (2015).
Image: Mark Dion, The Texas Cabinet, 2020, wooden cabinet filled with objects from Dions travels, courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.