Mapping Bodies: The Art & Artifice of Science

The public was invited to the opening of Mapping Bodies: The Art & Artifice of Science at 516 ARTS in Downtown Albuquerque on Saturday, February 10, 6–8pm. This exhibition was a satellite exhibition to The Art & Artifice of Science at the Museum of Fine Arts, with the exhibitions simultaneously on view at both the museum in Santa Fe (12 weeks) and 516 ARTS in Albuquerque (6 weeks).

The Art & Artifice of Science and Mapping Bodies: The Art & Artifice of Science explored the intersection of art and science by examining the work of contemporary artists, from New Mexico and beyond, who use the language, look and technologies of science in their work. The exhibitions built on two of New Mexico’s long-standing strengths: its wealth of artistic talent and scientific innovation, giving a fresh perspective on the state’s long history as nexus of art and science. The exhibitions encourage visitors to reconsider the polarization of the two disciplines by emphasizing the creativity inherent in scientific investigation and the rigor and discipline demanded of artistic exploration. The exhibitions included work in a variety of media including photography, installation, sculpture and video.

Mapping Bodies, the focus of the Albuquerque exhibition and a portion of the Santa Fe exhibition, explored contemporary artists’ growing interest in the processes, products and visual imagery of science. Mapping Bodies at 516 ARTS included the following artists: Erika Blumenfeld (Texas); Alison Carey (Oregon, current Roswell artist-in-residence), Justine Cooper (New York), Glenn Kawabata (Hawaii), Nicola Lopez (New York), Clayton Porter (New Mexico), Gary Schneider (New York), Ian van Coller (Montana). The Albuquerque exhibition was curated by Arif Khan, an independent curator working with the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Gallery Director at the Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque.

The Art & Artifice of Science in the Santa Fe examined two subthemes: (Un)natural Histories and Mapping Bodies. (Un)natural Histories examined the work of contemporary artists who create a world inhabited by flora and fauna unlike any we have known before. They accomplished this by exploiting the familiarity of naturalist imagery or a museum of natural history model of display. Much of the work in this section toyed with the idea of photographic veracity, scientific objectivity, and a critical look at both. The design of this gallery re-created the appearance of a museum of natural history in order to emphasize the artifice at play and to underscore how institutions have played a role in how knowledge is constructed. The Mapping Bodies portion of the Santa Fe exhibition looked to the future, and feels highly technological, re-creating the physical workspace and trappings of the laboratory. The exhibition features the work of artists from across the United States, some of whom were featured in both the Albuquerque and Santa Fe exhibitions: Rebekah Bogard, Reno, NV; Alison Carey, Portland, OR; Christine Chin, Albuquerque, NM; Justine Cooper, Brooklyn, NY; Joan Fontcuberta, Spain; Harri Kallio, New York, NY; Leigh Anne Langwell, Albuquerque, NM; Daniel Lee, New York, NY; Patrick Nagatani, Albuquerque, NM; Min Kim Park, Masumi Shibata and Mary Tsiongas, Albuquerque, NM; Gary Schneider, New York, NY; and Gail Wight, Palo Alto, CA. The Santa Fe exhibition was curated by Laura Addison, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe.

The Art & Artifice of Science and Mapping Bodies: The Art & Artifice of Science was accompanied by a catalog with essays by Curators Laura Addison and Arif Khan.

Mapping Bodies: The Art & Artifice of Science in the downstairs gallery of 516 ARTS coincided with Eye to I: Self Portraits by Women Artists in the upstairs gallery.

image above:  Clayton Porter, Trinity, 8' x 38.5" x 6.5" x-rays, fishing line, fluorescent lights