Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist

Yale University Press

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Ruth Erickson

Hardcover | 28.7 x 22.1 x 2.29 cm | 224 pp

Yale University Press | 2017 | 9780300224078

A comprehensive survey of American artist Mark Dion (b. 1961), this volume examines thirty years of his pioneering inquiries into how we collect, interpret, and display nature. Part of a generation of artists expanding institutional critique in the 1990s, Dion adopted the methods of the archaeologist or the natural history museum, juxtaposing natural objects, taxidermy, books, and more to reorganise the natural and the manmade in poetic, witty ways. These sculptures, installations, and interventions offer novel approaches to questioning institutional power, which he sees as connected to the control and representation of nature.

Generously illustrated, this publication introduces new insights and features more than seventy-five artworks. Essays address topics ranging from Dion’s ecological activism to his loving critique of museums. A diverse group of contributors explores his work as a teacher, his public artworks such as Neukom Vivarium in Seattle, and his intricate curiosity cabinets installed throughout the world. They reveal how Dion’s practice and formal investigations―which are rooted in history―connect to contemporary questions of disciplinary boundaries and the acquisition of knowledge in the age of the Anthropocene.

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