Screen print on bookcloth scroll, in bespoke box
59 x 56 cm [23.2 x 22 in].
Edition of 50, signed and numbered.
About the work
Mark Dion has produced a new edition especially for the Whitechapel Gallery in the form of a scroll. Historically used as a teaching aid, Dion’s scroll, entitled Ornithology For Birds, 2018, at first glance references the study of birds. However on closer inspection, the diagram playfully suggests a lesson for and not of birds. Attributed with the 20th century movements of art and design, the bird is perched on a branch labelled "The Museum". In turn the branch is invaded by termites, haunted spectres, of Europe (a nod to the Karl Marx) and death personified.
Dion, who is known for his interest in outmoded ways of teaching and structuring the natural world, binds art-historical quotations and with the language of pedagogy to reference his long- held interest in knowledge production and museum display.
Ornithology For Birds was produced and generously donated by the artist to accompany his solo exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery, Mark Dion: Theatre of the Natural World, 14 February – 13 May 2018.
About the artist
Explorer, collector, activist and conjuror of theatrical environments American artist Mark Dion (b.1961) has travelled through rainforests and rubbish dumps to reveal the wonder and fragility of life on earth. Dion uses specimens – natural and man-made – to make uncanny representations of these environments. His drawings, sculptures and installations draw on the techniques of scientific enquiry and museum display; and on the telling of natural histories.
Mark Dion was born in 1961 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, US and lives in New York with his wife and frequent collaborator Dana Sherwood. He studied at the Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, Connecticut (1981-82), which awarded him a BFA in 1986 and an honorary doctorate in 2002. From 1983 to 1984 he attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and then completed the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program (1984-85). He is an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University, UK (2014) and has an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Ph.D.) from The Wagner Free Institute of Science in Philadelphia (2015).
For over two decades Dion has worked in the public realm in a wide range of scales, from architecture projects to print interventions in newspapers. Some of his most recent large-scale public projects include David Fairchild’s Laboratory, a permanent installation commissioned for The Kampong, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Coconut Grove, FL (2016); Den, a permanent installation commissioned for the Norway National Tourist Route (2012) and Neukom Vivarium, a permanent outdoor installation and learning lab for the Olympic Sculpture Park commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum (2006); Dion has also produced large-scale permanent commissions for Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany and the Montevideo Biennale in Uruguay (both 2012). His work is held in the collections of Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The New York Public Library, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate, London. Dion is co-director of Mildred’s Lane, an innovative visual art education and residency program in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.
Whitechapel Gallery editions are generously donated by the artists. All proceeds from the sale of these works directly support our exhibition and education programmes. As is traditional in editions publishing, prices will rise as an edition starts to sell out.
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