Who's in town?
Mark Dion:

Collections Collected:
Adventures with
Institutional Collections

Salt Beyoğlu

July 27, 2011 18.30 – 20.00


Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge and the natural world. The job of the artist, he says, is to go against the grain of dominant culture - to challenge perception and convention. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question distinctions between objective scientific methods and subjective influences. The artist’s spectacular and often fantastical curiosity cabinets, modeled on Wunderkabinetts of the 16th century, exalt atypical orderings of objects and specimens.

Dion received a BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford School of Art, Connecticut; and the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award in 2001. 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); and Tate Gallery, London (1999). His Neukom Vivarium (2006), a permanent outdoor installation and learning lab for the Olympic Sculpture Park, was commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum. Some of his most recent public projects include The Amateur Ornithologist Clubhouse, a Captain Nemo-like interior constructed in a gas tank in Essen, Germany; The Hanging Garden, a collaboration with landscape design firm Gross Max in central London, consisting of a fire escape-like vertical garden; and The Den, a large-scale folly in Norway’s mountainous landscape that features a massive sculpture of a sleeping bear resting on a hill of material culture from the Neolithic Era to present.

Dion lives and works in New York City and Pennsylvania and is Co-Director of Mildred’s Lane, an innovative visual arts education and residency program. Dion is currently working at the architectural firm James Corner Field Operations on the redesign of the Seattle Waterfront, a project involving the development of a long-term visual arts strategy for the site, as well as the establishment of large-scale permanent ecological interventions.