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Museum Of Art And Design Presents “Dead Or Alive”

27 April 2010 - 24 October 2010

“Dead or Alive” presented by the Museum of Arts and Design 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, shells, bones, silkworm cocoons, plant materials, and fur—to create intricately crafted and designed installations and sculptures. 

Organized by the Museum’s Chief Curator David McFadden and Curator Lowery Sims with Assistant Curator Elizabeth Edwards Kirrane, 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 Tuesday, April 20, will allow MAD visitors to observe artists as they create and install site-specific works in the museum galleries. 

“'Dead or Alive' highlights the elaborate creative processes that reanimate these once-living objects as part of large-scale installations, photographs, videos, and sculptures,” says Holly Hotchner, the Museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director.

“Using intricate and sometimes painstakingly difficult techniques, the artists infuse these unusual materials with symbolism and social commentary. We are pleased to share these extraordinary meditations on mortality and celebrations of life as follow up to our inaugural exhibition Second Lives.” 

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, whose fragile nests of thistle and dandelion silk will be installed in the Museum’s lobby; 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 pigeon feathers emanating from one of MAD’s signature glass bands that cut across the gallery ceilings. Chinese artist Shen Shaomin will create imaginary animals 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. 

“In the hands of these artists mute materials are brought back to life as a work of art,” said Chief Curator David McFadden.

“With profound and provocative associations, organic materials are transformed and resuscitated. This exhibition evokes our deepest emotions about mortality, but at the same time celebrates the new life given to lifeless materials by these talented individuals.” 
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