The McIntire Department of Art is pleased to announce the selection of artist Mark Dion as the 2016 Ruffin Distinguished Artist in Residence.
Mark Dion was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1961 and currently lives in New York City. Throughout his artistic career, Dion has consistently interrogated the ways in which knowledge—particularly our understanding of nature, science, and history—is and has been constructed and presented in academic and public institutions across time and place. Engaging in projects that frequently involve various sites and community collaborations—from his pseudo-archaeological excavations along the banks of the Thames River to his re-installation of museum collections in unconventional ways—Dion employs aspects of museum practice and scientific study to engage dominant narratives about topics including the environment, politics, activism, and consumer culture. Infusing wit and irony into his art, Dion charges his viewers to think critically about the objective and subjective ways in which information is created, interpreted, and distributed. He is the subject of a monograph published by Phaidon and a documentary on the PBS series, art:21.
Mr Dion received his BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford School of Art in Connecticut and also studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York (1982–84) and in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program (1984–85). The recipient of many awards, Dion has undertaken numerous public commissions and has been the subject of solo exhibitions in major international institutions including: Mark Dion: The Academy of Things (2014, Academy of Fine Arts, Dresden, Germany); The Macabre Treasury (2013, Museum Het Domein in Sittard, The Netherlands); Oceanomania: Souvenirs of Mysterious Seas (2011, Musée Océanographique de Monaco and Nouveau Musée National de Monaco / Villa Paloma in Monaco); The Marvelous Museum: A Mark Dion Project (2010–11, Oakland Museum of California), to name a few. His work has been included in major group exhibitions including documenta 13 (2012). Perhaps best-known for his work Neukom Vivarium, an installation in Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, WA, the artist has also has completed other public commissions including Den, a site-specific installation for the National Tourist Routes in Norway (2012), An Archaeology of Knowledge for John Hopkins University (2012), and Ship in a Bottle for Port of Los Angeles Waterfront (2011). Dion has been the recipient of the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001), The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2007), and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucida Art Award (2008).
Funded by a significant endowment from the Peter B. and Adeline W. Ruffin Foundation, the Ruffin Distinguished Artist-in-Residence is an annual position designed to bring artists of international stature to the University of Virginia’s studio art program, housed in Ruffin Hall. As Ruffin Distinguished Artist-in-Residence, Mr. Dion will work with students in a unique semester-long course and be in residence through the spring 2016 academic semester. His residency will include a public lecture in the fall of 2015 (TBA) and an exhibition in the Ruffin Gallery during the spring semester.
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