Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions
This exhibition brings to light for the first time an archive of images that illustrate the formation of our modern definition of nature. William Beebe (1877–1962) was one of America's greatest popularizers of ecological thinking and biological science. Beebe literally took the lab into the jungle, rather than the jungle to the lab. The Department of Tropical Research was pioneering in that, under Beebe’s direction, women were hired as lead scientists and field artists. Artist Isabel Cooper, joining in 1919, publicly relished her opportunity to travel through the jungles of Guyana juggling a “vivid serpent or tapestried lizard in one hand, and the best grade of Japanese paintbrush in the other.” The structure of The Drawing Center’s exhibition will mirror the two salient stages of the Department of Tropical Research's investigations: jungle field station work and floating laboratories for marine biology —revealing that artists and scientists worked closely and productively in the near past and that scientists once understood art as a valuable tool for promoting ecological thinking to a broad public.
Curated by Mark Dion, Katherine McLeod, and Madeleine Thompson
Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions is made possible by the support of Fiona and Eric Rudin, Jean-Christophe Castelli and Lisa Silver, Judith Levinson Oppenheimer and John Oppenheimer, Anthony and Judy Evnin, Jerome and Ellen Stern, and Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg.
Special thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Image: Chiasmodon niger Stomach Contents, Else Bostelmann Bermuda 1931. Watercolor on paper, 11 x 14 inches (27.9 x 35.6 cm). Else Bostelmann © Wildlife Conservation Society.
Open Sessions 10
The Open Sessions program was created by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway, Open Sessions Curators, as an opportunity for selected artists to find new approaches for contextualizing and exhibiting their work, through exhibitions, public programs, and conversation. The artists selected for Open Sessions may or may not draw as their primary means of art-making. The two-year program engages musicians, architects, dancers, poets—anyone who is interested in expanding the boundaries of drawing. Open Sessions fosters a dynamic, ever-evolving conversation with new drawing practices and practitioners, viewing drawing as an activity rather than a product.
Curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway