Mark Dion

Roundup: An Entomological Endeavor for the Smart Museum of Art, 2000/2006
Mixed media installation of black and white photographs and mannequin

Often concerned with questions of epistemology and representation, Dion’s work is firmly grounded in institutional critique. Appropriating natural history methodologies and disrupting disciplinary ideologies, the artist produces empowering works of art that invite us to directly engage with the natural world. These images and mannequin of a naturalist are the archival aftermath of a participatory event in which the artist, along with a team of volunteers, collected insects from the galleries and offices of the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago. Dion thus treated the institution as, simultaneously, object of study and producer of knowledge. Roundup reveals the hidden natural, while also playing with the notion of art spaces as pristine and purely cultural.

Lent by The David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago; Purchase, Paul and Miriam Kirkley Fund for Acquisitions.