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Open at all times
See the schedule for island hours.
Soissons Landing - Soissons Landing - Building 105

Adapt­ed espe­cial­ly for Gov­er­nors Island, Mark Dion’s immer­sive The Field Sta­tion of the Melan­choly Marine Biol­o­gist takes vis­i­tors on a voyeuris­tic jour­ney con­fronting a future impact­ed by cli­mate change.

Pre­vi­ous­ly pre­sent­ed at Storm King Art Cen­ter as part of the exhi­bi­tion Cli­mate Indi­ca­tors: Artists on Cli­mate Change in 2018, and Prospect 4, New Orleans in 2017, The Field Sta­tion of the Melan­choly Marine Biol­o­gist takes on a new form on Gov­er­nors Island, with objects and mate­r­i­al cul­ture informed by the Island’s unique his­to­ry and the ecol­o­gy of New York Har­bor and the But­ter­milk Chan­nel. The piece is cur­rent­ly on long-term view in Build­ing 105, a his­toric arse­nal build­ing locat­ed with­in the Gov­er­nors Island His­toric Dis­trict locat­ed across from Fort Jay. 

The new instal­la­tion of the work trans­forms his­toric Build­ing 105 into an aban­doned research out­post, filled with sci­en­tif­ic objects, instru­ments, arti­facts and sam­ples. As vis­i­tors peer through the building’s win­dows, they wit­ness a scene pre­served in time — a moment, Dion explains, where some­body study­ing the nat­ur­al world real­izes that the future’s not look­ing so good…that we are going to lose a great amount of the nat­ur­al won­ders that have been here in pre­vi­ous cen­turies.” The work invites reflec­tion on the tools and method­olo­gies through which audi­ences seek to under­stand the world around them, while invit­ing vis­i­tors to imag­ine the life of a soli­tary researcher faced with the real­i­ties of a dark future declin­ing ocean health impact­ed by cli­mate change. 

The Field Sta­tion of the Melan­choly Marine Biol­o­gist is made pos­si­ble through the gen­er­ous sup­port of Cha­ri­na Endow­ment Fund, Stavros Niar­chos Foun­da­tion, and the Don­ald A. Pels Char­i­ta­ble Trust. 

About Mark Dion
Artist, col­lec­tor and nat­u­ral­ist, Mark Dion uses the detri­tus of human cul­ture to exam­ines the ways in which dom­i­nant ide­olo­gies and insti­tu­tions shape our under­stand­ing of his­to­ry, knowl­edge and the nat­ur­al world. Dion’s work takes the form of instal­la­tion, draw­ing and curios­i­ty cab­i­nets. Based in Copake, New York, Dion has received numer­ous awards, includ­ing the Joan Mitchell Foun­da­tion, Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship and the Smith­son­ian Amer­i­can Art Muse­um’s Luci­da Art Award. He has had major exhi­bi­tions at the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, Lon­don; the Aldrich Muse­um of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Ridge­field, Con­necti­cut and the British Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry, Lon­don. Dion received his BFA and hon­orary doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hart­ford in Con­necti­cut and has an hon­orary doc­tor­ate from The Wag­n­er Free Insti­tute of Sci­ence in Philadel­phia. Dion is co-founder of Mil­dred’s Lane an inno­v­a­tive visu­al art edu­ca­tion and res­i­den­cy pro­gram in Beach Lake, Penn­syl­va­nia. He is rep­re­sent­ed by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in NYC.

Pho­to: Mark Dion The Field Sta­tion of the Melan­choly Marine Biol­o­gist, 2017
Mixed media, 194 34289 12108 inch­es; 494.7735.3274.3 cm
Instal­la­tion view, Prospect 4. The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Prospect New Orleans, New Orleans, 2018.
Pho­to by Zach Smith, cour­tesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles

Open at all times
See the schedule for island hours.
Soissons Landing - Soissons Landing - Building 105