Skip to Content

Waiting for the Extraordinary installation by Mark Dion

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Institute for the Humanities Gallery 202 S. Thayer Map
About the installation: As part of the Institute for the Humanities 2017-18 Year of Archives and Futures, and in celebration of the U-M Bicentennial, the Institute for the Humanities presents a new iteration of Mark Dion’s Waiting for the Extraordinary, which was commissioned and first exhibited here in 2011. Inspired by the academic classifications invented by 19th-century Michigan Chief Justice Augustus B. Woodward, this new, architecturally scaled installation serves as an archive of the original, and presents a single room with thirteen plastic sculptures, each representing one of Woodward’s professorships. As viewers peer into the space and encounter these illuminated objects—reproduced using 3D imaging technology from original objects Dion found in departments and collections across the University of Michigan—they confront questions about the distinction between the rational and subjective in our construction of knowledge, as well as role of the museum and institutions that continue to determine it.

About the artist: Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. “The job of the artist,” he says, “is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention.” Appropriating archaeological, field ecology, 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. Mark Dion questions the objectivity and authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society, tracking how pseudo-science, social agendas, and ideology creep into public discourse and knowledge production.

Image: Mark DION
Waiting for the
Extraordinary
2013
mixed media
96 x 61 x 122
inches; 243.8 x
154.9 x 309.9 cm
Courtesy the artist
and Tanya Bonakdar
Gallery, New York
Building: 202 S. Thayer
Website:
Event Type: Exhibition
Tags: Art, Bicentennial, Exhibition, History, Visual Arts
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Institute for the Humanities
Upcoming Dates: