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Zimmerli Art Museum Presents Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein
Faculty incorporate exhibit into curriculum and upcoming programs, infusing art with science
New Brunswick, N.J. (Aug 19, 2019) – In Helen Lundeberg’s Self Portrait, the artist depicts herself reaching into a two-dimensional cosmic landscape to pluck out a three-dimensional planet.
The 1944 painting, which belongs to Rutgers University’s Zimmerli Art Museum, will return home next month as part of a traveling exhibit on Dimensionism, a 20th century movement that, in the words of Hungarian poet Charles Sirató, sought “the artistic conquest of four-dimensional space” inspired by Einstein’s theory of relativity and other scientific breakthroughs.
The exhibit Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein, opening Sept. 3, will examine works by celebrated artists, including Marcel Duchamp, Isamu Noguchi, Dorothea Tanning and others, as they embraced Sirató’s “Dimensionist Manifesto” by exploring the cosmic and microscopic realities that science was bringing to light.
The exhibit’s 75 works by more than 36 artists include Lundeberg’s Microcosm and Macrocosm (1937), which contrasts bacteria with the scale of a galaxy, and Noguchi’s E= MC2 (1944), a papier-mâché starburst that represents the conversion of matter into explosive energy.
As proof of Dimensionism’s continuing relevance, faculty members who include Geeta Govindarajoo, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology, have incorporated the exhibit into their fall 2018 curricula. Govindarajoo will include the exhibit in her “Chemistry of Art” course, which examines the intersection of chemistry with the visual arts, including the principles of color, paint, paper, clay, glass, metals, forgeries and issues of environmentally sustainable art.
“Science and art have always been fused,” Govindarajoo said. “Figuring out how to make a specific type of paint through experiments with pigment and dye, learning how corrosion can affect metal or how to build a structure that will last for centuries like the Romans – it all requires a level of science. And this exhibit offers, quite literally, a multidimensional way to explore the ways art and science inform each other.”
Zimmerli Museum Director Thomas Sokolowski said the museum will hold seminars by Rutgers physicists, engineers, astronomers and other faculty on the nexus between art and science.
“We have been assembling a cohort of faculty from all across the disciplines represented at Rutgers in fruitful discussions about how best to engage the university community in intellectual debate over synchronicities between the arts and sciences,” Sokolowski said. “Across the board, physicists, engineers and astronomers are planning seminars, lectures and a day-long symposium to address commonalities in the ways in which the two halves of the brain overlap. We believe this project will be a game-changer in the way the Rutgers community explores intellectual discourse.”
Vanja Malloy, former curator of American art at the Mead Art Museum, organized the exhibit. The presentation at the Zimmerli, on display through Jan. 5, is organized by Donna Gustafson, curator of American art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs. The exhibit is funded by The Henry Luce Foundation , the Terra Foundation for American Art , the Arts at Amherst Initiative, the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund, the David W. Mesker ’53 Fund, and the Wise Fund for Fine Arts. The presentation at the Zimmerli is additionally funded by a grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund, and by the Salgo Trust for Education.
Download photos from Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein at this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nlbo1fpoecwr7pa/AABo0ZS0dp5pXMqEhjZ87arVa?dl=0
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