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Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

Temporary Construction Alert: Please be advised that several areas on Governors Island will be impacted throughout September due to the installation of Charles Gaines’s “Moving Chains” and the Longines Global Champions Tour. Click here for details.

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