Mark Dion discusses Contemporary Art and Neukom Vivarium

“I don’t care if people call it art or not – that’s really not my question, you know. As far as I know that question was solved…Duchamp’s urinal was you know, complacently sitting in MoMA before I wet my first diaper.

So those are not my issues; what I care about is, ‘is it interesting?’ Am I making a contribution to visual culture that’s engaging, that brings up questions, that produces dialogue and discourse?”

That is what this blog is about. What we’re concerned about in art, as environmentalists, is the question, “how can we produce something that challenges and changes culture?”

I start this blog off with Mark Dion because, I think, he is a good representation of what it means to be a contemporary artist concerned with the environment. He utilizes his status as an artist to propose questions to his audience. In Neukom Vivarium, which places a found dead tree under the canopy of the Seattle Art Museum, Dion challenges our perception of death and recontextualizes it within ecology––a recontextualization that I think needs to be done in order to incite change in our cultural perception of the environment.

<em>Neukom Vivarium</em>

Image courtesy of PBS.org

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