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Theme     Science, Nature, and the Earth

The following is an excerpt from an essay in Teaching Contemporary Art with Young People by Trena Noval.

Nature has always inspired art. Artists have examined, illustrated and interpreted the natural world and found models for design in it. Art has also joined science in advancing our knowledge and understanding of nature. The two domains have intermingled in the past and today we see cross-pollination and hybridization between them.  

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner& Aka Niviâna

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna

Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna

Two poets from very different climates but similar circumstances come together to raise awareness of the global consequences of climate change in a film by Daniel Lin.



Ala Ebtekar

Through intricate patterning similar to designs in ancient Persian art, Ebtekar illustrates the interconnectedness of all things, terrestrial and celestial.



Ala Ebtekar Coelestis (After Hafiz)

Coelestis (After Hafix)

Isabella Kirkland

Isabella Kirkland Egg Cases of the Nudib

The eye of the naturalist discerns underlying patterns in living things, which are both beautiful and universal.


Egg Cases of the Nudibranchs

Mark Dion

The ultimate artist-naturalist, Dion explores how humans interpret nature. His interest in scientific process is visible in his many installations of labs and his early performances as a researcher. The overlap of nature and culture is another theme in Dion’s work. Expanding into cultural critique, Dion uses the forms, rituals and vocabulary of scientific research to convey his ideas.


Mark Dion

The Texas Cabinet , 2020

Laurel Roth Hope

Laurel Roth Hope Biodiversity Suits for

Biodiversity Suits for Urban Pigeons: Passenger Pigeon II, 2014 


Laura Roth Hope began her career as a park ranger. Today, she dedicates her life to making art that “addresses human manipulation and intervention into the natural world and the choices we make between our individual desires and the well- being of the world (Hope, )”. For her Biodiversity Series, she drew on her research as a biologist to carve mannequins of common pigeons and dress them in the garb of extinct avian species. Dignified and tragic, these silent costumed creatures bring the memory of the lost birds back to life while they remind us of what has been lost. They also use a classic form from the science of zoology to elevate a bird we still have but don’t cherish, the common pigeon.

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