Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art

April 27 - October 24, 2010



selected objects from the exhibition

Dead or Alive, presented by the Museum of Arts and Design from April 27 through October 24, 2010, will showcase the work of over 30 international artists who transform organic materials and objects that were once produced by or part of living organisms-insects, feathers, bones, silkworm cocoons, plant materials, and hair-to create intricately crafted and designed installations and sculptures.

The exhibition explores a territory related to MAD's Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary, which featured contemporary works created from multiples of ordinary manufactured items. In Dead or Alive, the materials transformed by the artists are entirely natural. Once-living parts of flora and fauna are recombined and rearranged into works of art that address the transience of life, and all that is elegant and alarming about the natural world.

Dead or Alive features new site-specific installations and recent work by contemporary artists from around the world, including Jennifer Angus, Nick Cave, Tessa Farmer, Tim Hawkinson, Jochem Hendricks, Damien Hirst, Alastair Mackie, Kate MccGwire, Susie MacMurray, Shen Shaomin, and Levi van Veluw among others. A special weeklong visitor preview starting Thursday, April 22, will allow MAD visitors to observe artists as they create and install site- specific works in the museum galleries.

New commissions include works by Costa Rican artist Lucia Madriz, who will create a massive, politically charged floor installation made from black beans and rice; German artist Christiane Löhr, who fabricates fragile nests of thistle and dandelion silk suspended in the air; American artist Jennifer Angus, known for her architectural interiors covered with thousands of dried insects that are pinned to mimic vintage wallpaper; and Kate MccGwire who will create a large cascade of 1000s of pigeon feathers emanating from one of MAD's signature glass bands that cut across the gallery ceilings. Chinese artist Shen Shaomin has created an imaginary animal skeleton made from pulverized bones; and internationally renowned installation artist Xu Bing will make a shadow version of a 24-foot Song Dynasty painting using only vegetable detritus, weeds, leaves, and roots.

Resources
Teacher Resource Packet - A collection of images and questions for discussions, with bibliography and glossary of terms, designed for educators k-12, but made available to all.

Catalogue
A full-color exhibition catalogue is available for puchase at thestore.madmuseum.org


Dead or Alive is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and American Express, with additional support from the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam and the Netherlands Cultural Services (New York).