MARK DION: Art and Science

Art and Science
Jessica DeMoura and Ferdinand Morton
 American artist born in 1961 in New Bedford, MA
 Received BFA in 1986 and honorary doctorate in 2003
from University of Hartford, School of Art, Conn.
 Exhibited at Miami Art Museum, MoMA, the Aldrich
Contemporary Art Museum, and the Tate Gallery
 Permanent outdoor installation and learning lab for the
Olympic Sculpture Park commissioned by the Seattle
Art Museum
 Currently lives and works in Pennsylvania
Relation to Art Integration
 Merges art with science, pop culture, history
 Alludes to the way humans think
 Mimics research practices, organizing principles, and
object displaying
 Questions the distinctions between “objective”
(“rational”) scientific methods and “subjective”
(“irrational”) influences
Mark Dion at Work
Selected Artworks
Mark Dion (2004) Rescue Archaeology - A Project for the Museum of Modern Art. Cut and pasted
printed paper with colored pencil and pencil on cardstock, 11x14”
“'Scala Naturae (1994), was a
straight faced subversion of
Aristotle's attempt to classify life
according to a hierarchical system. .
. . The receding steps begin with
man's creationism, climbing past
fungi, fruits and vegetables, corals,
butterflies, and a stuffed cat and
duck and concluding with a bust of
the classical scholar.”
-Mark Dion
Mark Dion (1994) Scala Naturae.
"The category of nature is
not something that the
field of science has a
monopoly on. It is
something that everyone
has a say in what gets to
be nature at a particular
time for a particular group
of people. And I think that
in order to motivate people
to care about the natural
world around us, one of
our chief tools is going to
be an aesthetic
sensibility." - Mark Dion
Mark Dion (2001) Providence Cabinet. Hand built cabinets with mahogany finish, filled with finds
from a dig in Providence, RI 100”x74”19”
"I’m constantly going to flea
markets, yard sales, and junk
stores and buying things
specifically for projects, but also
for myself and my friends…I
have very eccentric collectionsoil cans, wooden mallets, stuffed
birds, cabinet cards,
photographs of boats and
animals in zoos, and just dozens
and dozens of things. It’s a way
to continually be engaged with
my work. Some artists paint,
some sculpt, some take
photographs, and I shop. That’s
what I do." - Mark Dion
Mark Dion (2005) The Curiosity Shop. Mixed media, 12.5x28x12 feet
Mark Dion (1999) Alexander Wilson-Studio, detail. Wooden structure with taxidermic specimens,
sketches, and miscellaneous objects from the Carnegie Museum Collection, dimensions variable.
 Do you find Mark Dion’s way of creating art too
scientific? Does it really show a connection between all
 Stafford states that these cabinets collections were
“physical manifestations of the collaging processes of
the mind; they revealed how the mind juxtaposes
phenomena and creates narratives and concepts
through relationships” (Marshall, 2005)
 Do you feel that arts integration and artwork like Mark
Dion’s actually reflect the way our brains work?

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