The Art of Science: Mark Dion’s Marine Invertebrates


Andy Warhol famously said that “Art is what you can get away with.” It seems a good definition for this sculpture by renowned American artist Mark Dion.  The piece, Marine Invertebrates, is made up of dog toys and sex toys displayed in specimen bottles, as if in an old-fashioned natural history museum.

The toys, which bear an uncanny resemblance to real marine invertebrates,  continue Dion’s exploration of the ways that museums and other institutions shape our views of nature.   A show of his work, including this piece, is on exhibit at the Tonya Bonakdar gallery in New York city through April 13.

According to the gallery website, “Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between objective (rational) scientific methods and subjective (irrational) influences. The artist’s spectacular and often fantastical curiosity cabinets, modeled on Wunderkabinetts of the 16th Century, exalt atypical orderings of objects and specimens….Mark Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.” (source)

On a less philosophical plane, my personal responses to this artwork were (in objective, rational, scientific order): 1. Hahahahahaha! 2. OMG that is amazing. 3. Damn, I wish I had thought of that.

More information on the Dion exhibit and his other works are at the Tonya Bonakdar Gallery website.

Horse Soldiers, Corb Lund, and science dogs

This week, I’ve strayed a little from the usual rock leanings that we have here at Song of Week. I’ve highlighted some great folk music in the past but have never quite made it into country territory. Corb Lund‘s Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier, the title track from his 2007 album, is completely worth the detour. I really don’t care how anyone wants to classify this song, it’s an intense, lyrically dense and literate piece of song craft. As reviewers have noted about his music generally, you start out thinking you might not like it, maybe it’s too country, but before you know it you’re totally absorbed and leaning in to try to make out every word. In this one in particular, the Alberta roots music legend takes us on an emotional and powerful tour of armed human conflict through the eyes of the horses that almost always accompany them and often fall victim to them. It’s a powerful history lesson on the culture of war, though hardly a person is mentioned. Continue reading “Horse Soldiers, Corb Lund, and science dogs”

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