Mark Dion, Memory Box, 2016. Wood, steel, shelving, various objects, 114 x 113 x 125 inches. Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
STORM KING TO PRESENT MARK DION: FOLLIES
FROM MAY 4 THROUGH NOVEMBER 11, 2019
The First Exhibition to Survey the Artist’s Signature Architectural Follies.
Connecting Some Twenty-Five Years of Dion’s Work Across Storm King’s 500 Acres, the Site-Sensitive Exhibition Will Investigate the History and Culture of Nature.
Storm King Art Center will present Mark Dion: Follies, from May 4 through November 11, 2019, the first exhibition to unite Mark Dion’s signature folly works into a major survey. Since the mid-1990s, Dion has frequently employed the form of the architectural folly—a compact, decorative structure intended to inspire meaning rather than serve a functional purpose—to create intricate tableaus and house displays of a wide range of delicate and specific objects. Dion’s practice investigates intersections between culture and nature in myriad ways, and the enclosures of his follies have allowed him to create works with a complexity of visual material that would otherwise not be possible in public or outdoor spaces. Mark Dion: Follies will feature 12 examples created throughout the past quarter of a century, many of which will be recreated in slightly altered forms to respond to their new site at Storm King. Drawings and prints will present the artist’s process in arriving at these works, and will show them to be part of a lifelong pursuit in Dion’s work.
“We’re thrilled to present the work of Mark Dion, and to highlight such an important and prominent part of his practice,” says Storm King President, John P. Stern.
The organizers of the exhibition are Nora Lawrence, Senior Curator; David Collens, Director and Chief Curator; and Sarah Diver, Curatorial Assistant.
“Mark Dion’s work is deeply invested in exploring our relationship to the natural world, and by reimagining these works within the context of Storm King’s site, our presentation will inject these works with new, site-sensitive meanings,” says Lawrence.
“So much of my work is motivated by my deep awe of, and interest in, the natural world,” said Dion. “Presenting these works together within the panorama of Storm King’s landscape brings their relationship with nature to the fore, and provides an incredible opportunity to re-examine the follies through this lens.”
Installed both indoors and outdoors in various locations across Storm King’s 500 acres, works in the exhibition will offer visitors a variety of viewing experiences: some are intended to be experienced from the exterior, or by peering through windows and doors, while others can be entered.
Outdoor works will include Dion’s Grotto of the Sleeping Bear (1997), previously staged at Skulptur Projekte Münster in 1997, which comprises a plush, stuffed bear sleeping upon various human objects within a shelter built from trees and stones. Storm King’s expansive landscape will be a particularly fitting setting for the piece, as it brings the sort of dioramas found in natural history museums into an outdoor setting.
A site-specific version of the artist’s signature ecological field stations will be centrally installed, and will facilitate the study of natural phenomena, particularly engaging children visiting with school groups or camps.
Two life-sized hunting blinds—structures designed to disguise hunters in the wild, which Dion has ascribed with the identity of a specific inhabitant—will also be on view as part of the exhibition. Hunting Blind (The Dandy Rococo) (2008) will be sited on a small peninsula, looking into Storm King’s ponds, while Hunting Blind (The Glutton) (2008) will be situated at the edge of Storm King’s peripheral wooded areas.
The exhibition will also include Buffalo Bayou Invasive Plant Eradication Unit (2011), a functional work truck that serves as a mobile workstation, laboratory, and library. The project serves as an outreach and education tool, raising awareness of the species of invasive plants that threaten its surroundings.
Recently featured in Storm King’s 2018 exhibition, Indicators: Artists on Climate Change, Dion’s Field Station for the Melancholy Marine Biologist (2017-18) will remain on view as part of Mark Dion: Follies. Much of the contents of this weathered wooden cabin, which include the trappings of a scientific lab station and the imagined belongings of a marine biologist, directly relate to the ecology of Storm King’s site.
Dion’s The Memory Box (2015), a shed filled with hundreds of boxes, each containing small tokens or mementos that viewers can open and explore, will be on view in Storm King’s Museum Building. The Bureau of Censorship (1996) also on view indoors, is a cottage-like structure featuring office furniture and assorted objects, such as variously sized scissors, which playfully address the concept of “censorship.” A number of Dion’s drawings, plans, and field guides will also be on view inside the Museum Building, offering additional insight into the artist’s unique, research-driven process.
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