Major art-science exhibition opens on campus on Oct. 17

Artists use the lens of biotech to envision our genetic futures at the Gregg and the Libraries

Artists use the lens of biotech to envision our genetic futures at the Gregg and the Libraries

Evolution has gotten life this far. Design may take it from here

Art’s Work in the Age of Biotechnology: Shaping Our Genetic Futures is a visually stunning and thought-provoking exhibition aimed at raising awareness about genetic engineering, biotechnologies, and their consequences through the lens of art and design. By combining science and art and design, participating artists offer new insights about genetic engineering by bringing it out of the lab and into public places to challenge viewers' understandings about the human condition, the material of our bodies, and the consequences of biotechnology.

The multi-site exhibition opens with a reception on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design (1903 Hillsborough St.). Art’s Work is shown at the Gregg, in the physical and digital display spaces of the NC State University Libraries, and on the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art. The reception and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Guest-curated by Hannah Star Rogers, an independent curator and Visiting Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, the exhibition runs through March 15, 2020 and is organized by the NC State University Libraries and the Genetic Engineering and Society Center. Many participating artists have exhibited widely and achieved international recognition, including Suzanne Anker, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Joe Davis, Richard Pell, Kirsten Stolle, Paul Vanouse, Adam Zaretsky, Jennifer Willet, Charlotte Jarvis, Maria McKinney, Emilia Tikka, Aaron Ellison, David Buckley Borden, Joel Ong, Emeka Ikebude, Kerasynth, Jonathan Davis, and Ciara Redmond.

A full-color, 144-page, printed catalog of the exhibition is available through UNC Press. The catalog is also available in a web viewer here.

The exhibition’s opening week features several exciting events (all free and open to the public) in addition to the opening reception:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 16, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Talley Student Union (2610 Cates Avenue), spit collection for Paul Vanouse’s “ America Project.” Contribute to a group DNA fingerprinting project that produces works of visual art.

  • Thursday, Oct. 17, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Hill Library Exhibit Gallery (2 W. Broughton Drive), “Lucky Mice” by Joe Davis. A live mouse activates a dice-throwing apparatus in a work that comments upon practices of selective breeding. Brown-bag lunch and artist’s talk, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m., Hill Library Assembly Room.

  • Friday, Oct. 18, in both the Gregg Museum of Art & Design (8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) and the Hill Library Auditorium (2:00 pm.-5:30 p.m.), Symposium with exhibiting artists. Exhibiting artists will join humanists and social/natural scientists to use the exhibition as a departure point for conversations about the future of biotechnology and genetics. Register for afternoon sessions here.

Volunteer opportunities for the exhibit and its related events are available.

Art’s Work/Genetic Futures also includes From Teosinte to Tomorrow, a quarter-acre corn maze at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, through Oct. 31. The maze is a conceptual walk back through agricultural history. At the center of the small stand of tropical field corn, you will find an interior room with a raised bed of teosinte, the wild grass thought to be an ancestor of modern corn. Through countless harvests, the skinny, hard kernels of teosinte grass were gradually cultivated and hybridized into today’s juicy and sweet corn on the cob.