Artist MARK DION creates large-scale installations, and fantastical cabinets that question established archaeological, museum, and scientific practices in contemporary society. His lecture titled “Mark Dion: Misadventures of a Contemporary Naturalist” will be on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium, Palmer Museum of Art.
Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Dion frequently collaborates with museums of natural history, aquariums, zoos, and other institutions mandated to produce public knowledge on the topic of nature. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Dion questions the objectivity and authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society, tracking how pseudo-science, social agendas, and the ideology creep into public discourse and knowledge production.
Dion holds a BFA (1986) and was awarded an honorary doctorate (2002) from the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford in Connecticut. He also attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. Dion has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001); The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2007); and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucida Art Award (2008). He has had major exhibitions at the Miami Art Museum (2006); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004); Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2003); Tate Gallery, London (1999), and the British Museum of Natural History in London (2007).
Dion is co-director of Mildred’s Lane, an innovative visual art education and residency program in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and frequent collaborator, Dana Sherwood, in New York City. Currently on view at the Palmer Museum of Art is Dion’s Institute for Invertebrate Marine Biology (2017), created for Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials, which is on view through June 17, 2018. Dion’s visit is co-sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute; Department of Art History; Woskob Family Gallery; and the Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art.