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Patient observation

By Amanda Krugliak

“Waiting for the Extraordinary” is a new site-specific installation commissioned by the U-M Institute for the Humanities gallery. The exhibit is open through Nov. 5.

Mark Dion’s work considers scientific method and museum practice, and their influence on our understanding of history, the natural world, and what we know to be true. By appropriating a variety of scientific methods of collecting, organizing, and exhibiting objects, and adding the filter of Dion’s own idiosyncratic perspectives, his work questions the hard line between highly rational thought and unadulterated subjectivity. His endeavors are open inquiries as to which came first. Dion’s wanderlust guides his thoughtful contemplations of the intricacies of seeing and our subsequent suspension of disbelief.

Mark Dion (photo above), the 2011–12 Paula and Edwin Sidman Fellow in the Arts, was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and lives in New York and Pennsylvania. He holds a BFA and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford School of Art. Dion has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Lucelia Award, Smithsonian Museum of American Art. His most recent commissions include “Ship in a Bottle,” public commission for the Port of Los Angeles (2011) and “Oceanomania,” Institute Oceanographique de Paris et le Musee, Monaco (2011). He is represented by Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, NY.

Gallery hours: M–F 8am–5pm, Sat 10am–3pm U-M Institute for the Humanities gallery 202 S. Thayer, room 1010, Ann Arbor.

Read about and watch interviews with Mark Dion on PBS’s Art21 at