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Cabinet of Curiosities

Mark Dion and the University as Installation

2006

Colleen J. Sheehy, editor

Cabinet of Curiosities

Mark Dion digs into the University of Minnesota

The richly illustrated essays in Cabinet of Curiosities record the creative processes behind an installation designed by contemporary artist Mark Dion at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, a collaboration of museum staff, students, and collection curators. Cabinet of Curiosities offers commentary on the ways in which collecting has undergirded the creation of knowledge within universities and in Western society.

The book does a good job of getting at an elusive exhibition. This is an important book as the role of ‘art science’ as analogous to ‘information science’ is aesthetically and functionally key, yet completely beneath the radar of most cultural scenes. Well designed and illustrated. Recommended.

Choice

The richly illustrated essays in Cabinet of Curiosities records the creative processes behind an installation designed by contemporary artist Mark Dion at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, a collaboration of museum staff, students, and collection curators.

Drawing from university collections, Dion and the curators chose seven hundred objects representative of the state’s history, ranging from a Bierstadt painting of Minnehaha Falls to Hubert Humphrey memorabilia, as well as objects that would have fascinated Renaissance viewers—such as mirrors and the world’s smallest plant—and arranged them into categories typical of Renaissance inquiry, such as the Underworld, the Sea, Humankind, and the Library. Together, the cabinets represented the university in miniature, just as their Renaissance precursors had attempted to represent microcosms of the world. Cabinet of Curiosities offers commentary on the ways in which collecting has undergirded the creation of knowledge within universities and in Western society.

Published in cooperation with the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

Cabinet of Curiosities

Colleen J. Sheehy is director of education at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and associate faculty in American studies and art history at the University of Minnesota.

Cabinet of Curiosities

The book does a good job of getting at an elusive exhibition. This is an important book as the role of ‘art science’ as analogous to ‘information science’ is aesthetically and functionally key, yet completely beneath the radar of most cultural scenes. Well designed and illustrated. Recommended.

Choice

Cabinet of Curiosities is part exhibition catalogue and part free-standing book, and is first-rate at both. Whether or not you saw the exhibition, you will want to read this book. The book is well-written and never pedantic. The book is meant to be read and to inspire.

Goldstein Museum of Design

Cabinet of Curiosities

Preface lyndel king

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Restaging the Cabinet of Curiosities colleen j. sheehy

Contemporary Museums and the Cabinet of Curiosities
A Walrus Head in the Art Museum: Mark Dion Digs into the University of Minnesota colleen j. sheehy
A Conversation with Mark Dion bill horrigan
Curiosity Cabinets, Museums, and Universities e. bruce robertson
Student Curators Reflect on Cabinet of Curiosities
The Bezoar
Objects and Facts
Cabinet of Humankind: Creating and Questioning Values
Curator of the Air
The Cabinet of the Library or Archive
Exploring the Universe within the University
Cabinet of CuriositiesExhibition Checklist
University of Minnesota Collections
University of Minnesota Herbarium, Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Minnesota Insect Collection
Veterinary Anatomy Museum
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Children’s Literature Research Collections
Department of Special Collections and Rare Books
Weisman Art Museum
Collections of the Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences
Natural History Art Collection, Bell Museum of Natural History
The Givens Collection of African American Literature
Jane Goodall Institute’s Center for Primate Studies at the University of Minnesota
The Humphrey Forum
The Goldstein Museum of Design
Fish, Amphibian, and Reptile Collections, Bell Museum of Natural History
The Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies
Ornithological Collections, Bell Museum of Natural History