MARK DION AND ALEXIS ROCKMAN:¬
JOURNEY TO NATURE'S UNDERWORLD
FEBRUARY 9–JUNE 9, 2024
Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature’s Underworld explores the enduring friendship and shared passions between two renowned artists for over three decades. Both artists have achieved international recognition on their own, yet their creative paths have intertwined as they’ve explored complex ecological issues. This exhibition unites sculptures, installations, and paintings created by both artists.
Dion and Rockman subvert traditional museum experiences using tools of science and allegory. Each display becomes a theater of dissent. Dion's taxidermy dioramas and specimen cabinets unveil the truth of our strained relationship with nature. Rockman’s dense, populated landscapes depict the apocalyptic visions of a world in peril.
The concept of the "underworld" has many different associations. It can mean anything from the mythic land of the dead to the hidden depths of the Earth. In the realm of the underworld, Dion and Rockman guide us through our collective unconscious. They expose the dark desires and denial that drive our culture's harmful course. Their works serve as a warning: We need to confront ecological crisis and forge a new path toward a sustainable future.
The exhibition is divided into four sections, exploring themes and touchpoints that hold significance for both artists: Natural Classifications, Into the Wilds, In Deep Waters, and Time Travels. It culminates in a collaborative diorama that distills many of their shared concerns into a single work. The “underworld” within this exhibition encompasses several relevant associations, including the mythic land of the dead, archaeology, Earth’s subsurface, and elements of criminality. Within the context of Dion’s and Rockman’s works, the “underworld” also incorporates unconscious beliefs about nature, invisible micro and macro dimensions, and deep denial of our culture’s harmful course.
Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature’s Underworld was curated by Suzanne Ramljak, Chief Curator of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, and organized by the American Federation of Arts.
Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature's Underworld is organized by the American Federation of Arts. Support for the exhibition has been provided by Elizabeth Belfer and Victoria E. Triplett.
The Virginia MOCA presentation of Journey to Nature's Underworld is made possible by Southern Bank, PRA Group, Dollar Tree Family Dollar and Capital Group with additional support given by The Vandeventer Foundation, CNU Center for Sustainability in Education, Martha Goode, Susan & Craig Grube, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and Virginia Drywall Inc.