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ScienceArt on View in March/April 2014

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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A fresh batch of exhibits combining science and art are going up around the country, plus, there’s still time to catch some of the longer running exhibits that go through the middle of 2014. From John J. Audubon to dark matter to hybrid bodies created with modern transplant technology, there’s something in here for everyone. Enjoy:

EXHIBITS: NORTHEAST REGION

AAASVOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
January 21 – May 31, 2014

AAAS Art Gallery
1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

The artwork in Voyage of Discovery has its roots in the idea of a journey of scientific exploration, in the tradition of Darwin, Wallace, and the thousands of scientists who constantly travel the globe in search of new findings. This imaginary voyage takes viewers to a polar region where the iconic, seemingly eternal, landscape of ice and snow is in profound and rapid transition due to climate change. The pieces in this show, created by Michele Banks, Jessica Beels and Ellyn Weiss in a wide variety of media, are not strictly based on scientific data. They reflect the artists’ responses to the transformation of land and sea – the melting of glaciers and the thawing of permafrost, the movement of previously unknown species and microbes into the region, the dramatic shift of the color of the land from white to green to black. The artwork takes a broad view of these changes: the artists are deeply aware of the damage done by climate change, yet intrigued by the possibilities of what lies below the ice and snow.

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Peacock/CobraThe Peacock and the Cobra: James Prosek among the Arts of South Asia
through April, 2014

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Gallery 227
Philadelphia, PA

Explore a portfolio by contemporary artist and naturalist James Prosek amid a variety of painted pages and other objects from India and Pakistan. Presented as an oversize, colonial-era matchbox, The Peacock and the Cobra portfolio invokes ideas and images from the subcontinent while playfully inverting the documentary tradition of natural history painting.

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OutOfHandOUT OF HAND: Materializing the Postdigital
October 16, 2013 – July 6, 2014

Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY

Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital will explore the many areas of 21st-century creativity made possible by advanced methods of computer-assisted production known as digital fabrication. In today’s postdigital world, artists are using these means to achieve levels of expression never before possible – an explosive, unprecedented scope of artistic expression that extends from sculptural fantasy to functional beauty. Out of Hand will be the first major museum exhibition to examine this interdisciplinary trend through the pioneering works of more than 80 international artists, architects, and designers.

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SciIllNATURAL HISTORIES: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library
October 19, 2013 – October 12, 2014

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY

Featuring scientific illustrations spanning five centuries, the new exhibition Natural Histories: 400 Years of Scientific Illustration from the Museum’s Library explores the integral role illustration has played in scientific discovery through 50 striking, large-format reproductions from seminal holdings in the Museum Library’s Rare Book collection. Artists include Albrecht Dürer, Joseph Wolf, Moses Harris, John Woodhouse Audubon, and Maria Sibylla Merian.

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BostonMosCLIMATE CHANGE IN OUR WORLD: Photographs by Gary Braasch
October 16, 2013 – July 6, 2014

Museum of Science
1 Science Park
Boston, MA

We have made the world of today. Human population growth, energy use, agricultural methods, and land development have all had a measurable effect on our climate. Our activities have raised the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to its highest level in millions of years. The average temperature is climbing out of the range in which living species evolved and is now affecting sea level, ocean acidity, and water availability. Melting ice caps and glaciers, as well as weather extremes, have also resulted from this phenomenon. Although we are already experiencing climate change, we have many options to moderate it and limit its effects, with prompt action curtailing further drastic consequences.

View the works of environmental photojournalist Gary Braasch to observe how climate change is altering our planet. You’ll also see how humans are working to slow these changes through alternative energy use and conservation.

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SensingChangeSENSING CHANGE
July 1, 2013 – May 2, 2014

Chemical Heritage Foundation Gallery
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

Sensing Change, an initiative of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, invites us to explore and respond to daily shifts in our environment as well as long-term climate change. Sensing Change is inspired by scientific investigations, historical accounts, and direct observations of the natural world. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook using #SensingChange.

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ProsekCTJAMES PROSEK: Wondrous Strange
February 22 – June 8, 2014

New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT

James Prosek’s work takes its inspiration from the long tradition of natural history painting; from animal depictions on cave walls to the works of Albrecht Dürer, William Blake, and John James Audubon. His contemporary influences are wide-ranging, from Lee Bontecou and Mark Dion to Martin Puryear and Eero Saarinen. In particular, Prosek’s work is conceptually focused on how we name and order nature, including the limitations of language in describing biological diversity. His art challenges us to reflect on how our culture, our priorities, and our values are manifested in systems we use to classify and harness nature.

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DepenaIVAN TOTH DEPEÑA: New Media
December 14, 2013 – April 20, 2014

New Britain Museum of American Art
56 Lexington Street
New Britain, CT

Ivan Toth Depeña has created a multi-sensory installation using custom software to abstract a group of images mined from the Internet. These images were randomly selected by Google-searching the key words “rainbow” and “spectrum.” The software loads the images, examines their color information, “unwraps” them pixel by pixel and finally rearranges them into gradients of color. These pixel gradients are then displayed sequentially in the order that the images are loaded and played at a predetermined rate.

In addition to examining the idea of chance, this project also explores the concept and experience of “synesthesia.” Synesthesia can be defined as “a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.” In this case, the color information from each of the “rainbow” images is used to directly affect audio, creating a surreal collision of sound and image. Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow is sped up, slowed down and scrambled according to the hue and saturation of the colors being displayed on the screen. The title deals with our inherent compulsion to understand and often recreate the undefinable aspects of our realities, natural phenomena, and universe.

EXHIBITS: SOUTH

Art.Sci.GalleryKATEY BERRY FURGASON: To the Heart
February 14 – March 23, 2014

Art.Science.Gallery at Canopy
916 Springdale Road, Building 2, #102
Austin, TX

In this solo exhibition by Santa Fe-based artist Katey Berry Furgason, there are two series: In Portraits of the Microscopic, Furgason’s paintings in clay plaster and metal leaf explore the elegance of form and function in the microsopic world, from grains of sand to nerve synapses. In Collaborations with Insects, Time, Weather, Wood and Roots, organic sculptures are initiated by nature and completed by Furgason, who scrapes, smooths and surrounds each piece in earth-based mediums of wax, clay and metal. Both series focus on revealing core.

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NCBirdsBIRDS OF PARADISE: Amazing Avian Evolution
October 13, 2013 – March 23, 2014

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 West Jones St.
Raleigh, NC

Found only in New Guinea and parts of Australia, birds-of-paradise are a case study in the power of evolution. Their fantastic plumes and bizarre courtship displays are a result of millions of years of sexual selection at work in an environment with plentiful food and no natural predators.

In 2004, Cornell University scientist Edwin Scholes and National Geographic photographer Tim Laman set out to complete the first comprehensive study of all birds-of-paradise. After 8 years and 18 expeditions they have amassed photographic and video coverage of all 39 known species and documented several new behaviors. Fascinating stories of groundbreaking research and adventure paired with amazing footage and photography are the foundation of this highly interactive exhibition. “Birds of Paradise” captures these unique species, with stunning imagery, compelling video, soundscapes, artifacts, and engaging educational activities for all ages.

EXHIBITS: MIDWEST

AudubonAUDUBON and the Art of Birds
October 5, 2013 – June 8, 2014

Bell Museum of Natural History
University Ave. & 17th Ave. SE
Minneapolis, MN

Today, the name Audubon is synonymous with birds and the conservation of nature. But who was John James Audubon, and what did he do to inspire such a following? This exhibition will give visitors the rare opportunity to view an extensive collection of the original “double-elephant” prints from The Birds of America, the work that made him famous. Produced from 1826 to 1838, the images revolutionized our view of birds and nature.

The exhibition traces Audubon’s remarkable life, then puts his work in context with examples of earlier bird illustrations, works by his contemporaries and the continuation of the artistic fascination with birds up to the present day.

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MidlandBATRACHOLOGY: Amphibians in Art and NATURE’S FADING CHORUS: The Works of Brandon Ballengée
January 18 – April 13, 2014

Midland Center for the Arts
1801 W. St. Andrews
Midland, MI

Alongside a live exhibit devoted to the diversity of frogs will be two exhibits featuring work by artists fascinated by the study of amphibians: Batrachology: Amphibians in Art and Nature’s Fading Chorus: The Works of Brandon Ballengee. Ballengee uses high-resolution scanner photography to create large-scale portraits of frogs that document his ecological studies and increase the public’s understanding of his work.

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AugustanaINTO THE DARK: Artists Exploring Dark Matter
February 5 – March 7, 2014

Eide/Dalrymple Gallery
Augustana College
2001 S. Summit Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD

The artists in this exhibit were challenged to produce works about what has yet to be detected in the search for dark matter. Their exciting results became the exhibition “Into the Dark: Artists Exploring Dark Matter.” The exhibition includes the work of 22 artists and a range of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and mixed media.

EXHIBITS: WEST

COStateART AND SCIENCE from Colorado State University
February 10 – March 7, 2014

Clara Hatton Gallery
Colorado State University
Pitkin Street
Fort Collins, CO

Is your research beautiful; your art scientific? The Art & Science Exhibition, sponsored by the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Liberal Arts, has attempted to answer that question. The competition draws hundreds of submissions from across campus and includes work by undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff at Colorado State University.

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GyreGYRE: The Plastic Ocean
February 7, 2013 – September 6, 2014

Anchorage Museum
625 C Street
Anchorage, AK

With stunning visual impact and an astonishing array of ocean trash, internationally recognized artists create works of art for this exhibition from debris collected from beaches around the world. Plastic packaging in a throwaway culture finds its way into our ocean biosphere and then into the hands of artists. Our oceans and beaches are awash in plastic pollution propelled by gyre (rotating ocean currents). The exhibition explores the relationship between humans and the ocean in a contemporary culture of consumption.

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ClearedCLEARED: Photography by Dr. Adam P. Summers
through Spring 2014

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA

The photographs in this mesmerizing show feature fish that have been specially treated to make the stained skeletal tissues visible through the skin and flesh. The technique, developed by Dr. Summers, uses dyes, hydrogen peroxide, a digestive enzyme and glycerin to make the flesh seem to disappear. Poetry by Sierra Nelson accompanies each image. Dr. Summers is a professor at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs and was the scientific consultant on Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.” The research that led to this exhibit was funded by the National Science Foundation.

EXHIBITS: ABROAD

BeautifulSciBeautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight
February 20 – May 26, 2014

The Folio Society Gallery
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB

Turning numbers into pictures that tell important stories and reveal the meaning held within is an essential part of what it means to be a scientist. This is as true in today’s era of genome sequencing and climate models as it was in the 19th century. Beautiful Science explores how our understanding of ourselves and our planet has evolved alongside our ability to represent, graph and map the mass data of the time. From John Snow’s plotting of the 1854 London cholera infections on a map to colorful depictions of the tree of life, discover how picturing scientific data provides new insight into our lives.

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HybridBodiesHYBRID BODIES
January 23 – March 15, 2014

Phi Centre
407, Saint-Pierre Street
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Few organs are as charged as the human heart. Seen as both the seat of human identity and the archetypal symbol of love, it is an organ that has been ascribed qualities and associations far beyond its anatomical functions. Since the first heart transplant in 1967, the technical aspects of the operation have been streamlined, and heart transplantation is now the accepted therapy for end-stage heart failure.

While significant research has been conducted in transplantation using the bio-medical model, few researchers have explicitly connected organ recipients’ experiences and cultural views about transplantation to the notion of embodiment. And until recently, little inquiry has been made into the emotional or psychological states of the recipient post-surgery.

The Hybrid Bodies project examines organ recipients’ experiences and cultural views about transplantation, linking them to ideas of embodiment, identity, and kinship. The aim of this project is to explore the complexity of organ transplantation in a novel way that raises awareness and makes it accessible to the public, providing a context to discuss and explore these ideas.

Know of something we haven’t listed here? Send me an email at symbiartic (dot) km (at) gmail (dot) com, or tweet me @eyeforscience with the deets. If it’s scienceart related, it’s fair game.

Kalliopi Monoyios About the Author: Kalliopi Monoyios is an independent science illustrator. She has illustrated several popular science books including Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within, and Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. Find her at www.kalliopimonoyios.com. Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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