"The Multispecies Salon" Exhibition

CUNY Graduate Center

poster for "The Multispecies Salon" Exhibition

This event has ended.

Prophecies about the singularity, a future moment of biocultural salvation, will be unveiled at the opening reception by performance artist Praba Pilar. Rather than being a static exhibit, the Multispecies Salon is starting a new lifecycle of growth and decay. Blurring the boundaries between bioart and ecoart, art practices that “take non-humans seriously,” the Salon will showcase original artworks that illustrate human entanglements with plants, microbes, and animals. We will display art forms that will help us think about living with, and in, multispecies worlds.

New organisms that have been created by humans, or are dependent upon on us for their very survival, will animate the Multispecies Salon. We will also showcase creatures living and dying in industrial runoff, and the life support technologies that help keep endangered organisms alive beyond the reach of deadly pathogens and toxins. At the opening reception our table of snacks will be spread with offerings from organisms that are not just good to think with (as Lévi-Strauss had it), or good to eat (as Marvin Harris countered), but also entities, and agents, that are good to live with (as Donna Haraway maintains).

The Multispecies Salon originated in San Francisco when artists came together in 2008 to explore the biographical and political lives of parasites, weeds, and laboratory animals. This exhibit is spinning conversations about nature/culture in new directions and spawning novel approaches to anthropology. Multispecies ethnographers—anthropologists who are studying the creatures living in dying in the shadows of human worlds—have come to regard art as a companion and catalyst practice for thinking through dichotomies like human/non-human and body/environment.

In November 2010 a collective of six people from the East Coast, the West Coast, and the Gulf Coast, brought together a multitude of creative agents for The Multispecies Salon: SWARM in New Orleans. The swarm is a network with no center to dictate order. Swarming became the tactic, rather than the theme, of The Multispecies Salon. More than one hundred artists—hailing from the far reaches of the United States, Europe, and Australia—have animated The Multispecies Salon shows.

The Salon has now come to a repurposed office space at the CUNY Graduate Center. Rather than being a static exhibit, The Multispecies Salon has started a new lifecycle of growth and decay. Twelve of the best artworks from previous shows have been brought to New York. A full list of these participants is available online.

[Image: Marnia Johnston "The Paranoia Bugs" 2011]



from April 04, 2011 to April 30, 2011
Gallery Hours through April: Thursdays 12-7pm.

Opening Reception on 2011-04-04 from 18:00 to 21:00

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