The Ministry of Artistic Affairs
Monday, October 24, 2011

This exhibition marks the first major survey of Alexis Rockman's vivid, and visionary work, which delves into evolutionary history, theory, and politics, often mixing fantasy and scientific fact.

With virtuosity and wit, his paintings explore environmental issues ranging from evolutionary biology to genetic engineering to climate change, drawing from such sources as natural history, botanical illustrations, museum dioramas, science fiction films, and realist art traditions dating back to the Renaissance and firsthand field study. This traveling show features nearly 40 paintings, with pieces from 1986 to 2009, including several of Rockman’s monumentally scaled paintings.

This exhibition continues the Wexner Center’s relationship with Rockman: Two large-scale reproductions of his work were on view in the Wexner Center’s lobby spaces in the 2004–05 season, and he participated in a 2010 Wexner Center panel about climate and culture.

The curator of the exhibition is Joanna Marsh, The James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, where the show was previously on view. A catalogue accompanies the show, co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and D Giles Limited, London, features essays by Thomas Lovejoy, biodiversity chair at the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, and Kevin J. Avery, senior research scholar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as a foreword by Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

This exhibition was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with generous support from the Cowles Charitable Trust, Kara and Wayne Fingerman, Dorothy Tapper Goldman, Barbara and Jonathan Lee, Nion McEvoy, Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr., Holly and Nick Ruffin, Betty A. and Lloyd G. Schermer, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, and an anonymous donor. The C. F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the Smithsonian American Art Museum's traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.