Gordon Center exhibit weds the academic and the aesthetic

Science in Art aims to bridge the gap between scientists and non-scientists, using art to foster dialogue.

By Chelsea Vail

“Though art and science have no letters in common,” wrote Josh Kurutz, technical director of the U of C’s Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility, “they do share people.” Kurutz is living proof of this observation. He is one of the featured artists in the second annual Science in Art exhibit, opening Friday at the Gordon Center for

Integrative Science (GCIS).

Art for this unique event was chosen by University scientists and administrators and the associate director of the Hyde Park Art Center. Scientist-artists from the University of Chicago, Argonne, and Fermi National Laboratories contributed most of the works on display, as well as some local Chicago artists whose subject is science.

Sponsored by Chicago Artists Month and Science Chicago, efforts by the city of Chicago to heighten appreciation of the arts and sciences, the exhibition aims to bridge the gap between scientists and non-scientists, using art to foster dialogue. “There aren’t that many opportunities, I think, for the public to be close to science like this. It’s a way of making science more tangible and understandable,” said Rebecca Ayers, one of the organizers of the event.

Among the artworks on display will be Vesna Jovanovic’s “Timekeeper,” a multimedia work utilizing various medical scans of the artist’s own body enhanced with watercolor, ink, and graphite. “The piece is a record of the passing of time,” Jovanovic wrote in Science in Art’s blog, “not only a lifetime illustrated by the medical scans but also time through evolution, technology, and culture.”

Another highlight is sure to be renowned professor and paleontologist Paul Sereno’s “Giacomettisaurus,” a play on surrealist sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s depictions of distorted human figures. Sereno’s piece is constructed with an internal metal frame, epoxy casting compound, putty, and acrylic paint, all set on a wood base.

An opening reception will be held on the third-floor atrium of the GCIS on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. In addition, a panel discussion to address the benefits, limitations, and challenges of science and art is scheduled for Friday, October 17. Interested parties will also have the opportunity to tour Josh Kurutz’s and Vyta Bindockas’s labs, which double as their studios.

As Einstein once mused, “After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in aesthetics, plasticity, and form.” Science in Art allows the public to witness this wonderful process in an exciting and engaging way—through the medium of art.


Science in Art