Mark Dion & Julie Mehretu / by Cornelius

On Friday, September 30th, we were privileged enough to meet two of the most famous artists the Drew Contemporary Art Semester has ever had the opportunity to speak with.  The first artist was Mark Dion, who we met at the Natural History Museum, and the second artist was Julie Mehretu, who we met at her Marian Goodman Gallery showing. 

I thought it was very interesting that Mark Dion wanted to meet us at the Natural History Museum because he considered it more of his "studio" than anywhere else. He focused a lot on the dioramas being a source of time travel and that reminded me of how his work frustrates the process of learning directly from the academic dioramas in the museum. Prior to meeting Mark, I had actually been inside one of his installations a year earlier--it was a large birdcage with a tree in the center, riddled with various books (pictured below). It was so cool how interactive it was, much like how he walked with us through the museum and time. His tour around the museum brought my experience I had with his art full circle and it better contextualized inspiration and purpose. Overall, it was a very awesome experience, he was very down to earth and you could tell the passion he had for the exhibits he was showing us.  

After Mark had to run, we made our way over to Marian Goodman Gallery to talk with Julie Mehretu. She was really cool and her work was even cooler. I loved the way she described the process of her work and how each piece in time influenced the next piece. I never stopped to think about that before, and it was clear that she had spent a lot of time pondering how her work evolves. Of all the pieces in her show, my favorite were the largest ones in the main room. I felt engulfed in the washy gray area trying to find a meaning in it. Recognizable shapes would appear and disappear just as fast as I saw them--her paintings had so much movement embedded in them. I thought it was interesting that she saw these paintings as a small snap shot of something bigger, as if it were just a thumbnail, because I don't typically associate a painting so large as just a small section of something bigger. Regardless, Julie's work is very captivating and I could look at it for hours and frequently find something new; if a painting can do that, its a winner in my book!