The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist
by Mark Dion
Open at all times
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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 3⁄4 x 289 1⁄2 x 108 inches; 494.7 x 735.3 x 274.3 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
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