Wednesday 24 February 2010

Science & Art

As I've noted (ad nauseam), I've been doing a lot of reading around 17-18th century science, stemming from Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. While CP Snow might have argued that a chasm exists between the worlds of science and art, Holmes showed that in the Romantic period, the two were often intertwined.

A show currently being staged at the Mori Museum, floridly titled Medicine and Art: Imagining the Future for Art and Love, brings together 150 medical artifacts from the Wellcome Collection (including the heart-catcher above) with historical Japanese art, and contemporary international art. There's a great review by Regine Debatty (who spoke brilliantly last week at Webstock about her increasing exhaustion with interactive art) on the we make money not art site.

Art/science is quite a common and interesting internet meme. There was a flurry last year around Luke Jerram's glass sculptures of viruses (as well as being lovely objects, he was making a comment on the way visual renderings of viruses, in danger! danger! colours, increases the occasional medical scare-mongering carried out through the media).

Last month, it was Nikki Graziano, who layers mathematical graphs and equations over landscape photographs. Around the same time, Jonathan Jones blogged about astronomy as an art of seeing.

I can't think of a big art/science show in New Zealand in the years that I've been an active gallery visitor. I've seen contemporary art inspired by mathematical or scientific concepts, and historical art made for scientific purposes. I reckon there's an an opportunity here for a gallery or museum to do a lavish, insightful show with an awesome public programme: my experience of Kiwi Foo Camp this year reinforced my feeling that New Zealand has some gifted and passionate science communicators.


Catherine said...

I'd love to see such an exhibition - particularly after the successful literary coupling of 'Are Angels OK?'.

I also love how, in Wellington, there seems to be strong links between the arts/creatives and the science/computer geeks, which is especially evident on twitter.

staplegun said...

Oooh, in (very timely) related news, the British Library is getting stuck into some serious science history capturing. Though shame it's only audio and not video - video would make it much easier to create exhibitions around.