Medicine, Technology & Art
happen in white rooms:
IS NOT A COINCIDENCE
Mitosis by Kevin Van Aelst.
Photographs were desaturated to adhere to the PURE aesthetic.
by Sanna Sevanto
(Sculptures sit atop a cart of random objects)
Air Bubbles in Tissue Sample Slides by L. Coren Hanley,
An Experiment / Exhibition
Lisa Lunskaya Gordon, Curator
is a mixed media interactive exhibition / laboratory-- a collaborative
effort of artists and performers exploring the concepts of Sterility
deals with the increasing intersections within art, technology
and medicine, beginning at the common environment where these
disciplines exist: the sterile white space: an operating room,
a clean room, an art gallery. Through the themes of sterility
and its antethesis, PURE explores how societal ideals have been
both enhanced and compromised by a trenchant belief in the promise
of better living through scientific progress. That our PURE
environment is staged in an abandoned big box store superimposes
a commercial layer onto the project, prompting us to consider
the question; Is contemporary art being sterilized?
• • •
The Experiment examines different perceptions of PURITY: Physical,
Spiritual, Technological, Ideological, Artistic and the antithesis:
CONTAGION: as virus, as meme.
PURE embraces the aesthetic of STERILITY: 1) the Operating Theater,
2) the Clean Room in high tech manufacturing and 3) the white
1) Surgeons undergo a highly meticulous purification ritual.
Upon entering the operating theater, protective masks are donned.
These barriers prevent contagion from infecting the patient,
but also protect the surgeon from potential contagion from the
2) PURE embraces the aesthetics of technology as well as technology
itself in its quest to employ the most elegant (pure) solutions
to technical problems. Technology is increasingly incorporating
itself into the medical arena, so much so that it is becoming
difficult to tell where the human and the technological elements
begin and end, concepts which both delight and frighten us.
It is the same situation with technology's influence on art.
Contemporary art is routinely displayed in museums and galleries
which aspire to be "white boxes" - context free environments
where artwork can be considered conceptually and visually without
interruption or contamination from outside ideas. Because this
display aesthetic has become the norm, it has paradoxically
become its own context.
Upon entering the PURE exhibition, viewers must go through a
purification ritual- much as a surgeon does before entering
the operating room. The viewer becomes the physician exploring,
discovering, diagnosing the different elements that make up
Unlike other white box art spaces the walls of PURE remain bare.
The artwork huddles in the middle, a wide swath of empty space
separating the pieces from the walls. Though the scale of the
space is large, many of the works are small. Even when full,
PURE is empty- minimal, forcing the viewer to come in closer—to
examine and study the works more closely.
PURE questions whether art can be seen in a “pure”
context. Within this “sterile” environment, art
is mixed with artifact without adequate attribution. Artworks
infect each other, seeking to challenge the rigid borders–
the comfortable distance that physically separates individual
pieces in most galleries or museums. The result is that in the
process of assembling an exhibition of 73 artists, a group installation
has been created from individual works and from intentionally
or unintentionally placed random objects. This collaborative
process between the artists is the backbone of PURE.
is a loaded word. At once its varied connotations are positive
and negative in the extreme. Consider spiritual purity. Consider
racial purity. Consider a pure (clean) environment. A lake.
A laboratory. A hospital-- a place of both healing and contagion.
PURE ART is White, Black, Metallic or Clear by design. Whether
this “Purified” and desaturated aesthetic embodies
minimalist sterility or constructed contagion becomes the question.
• • •
PURE’s location in Boston is very apropos with the announcement
of plans to develop a number of high profile institutions dedicated
to medical and scientific research. The exciting pace of scientific
and medical discovery continues to revolutionize our lives.
The artists in the exhibition explore how such advances have
both enhanced and challenged our society and how we define ourselves
The artists working in this
collaborative effort are local, national and international.
They are career artists, doctors, scientists, writers and technologists,
a number are from Boston’s academic community. They are
seasoned professionals, famous names, unknowns, art students,
collectives, professors, and first time artists. Non traditional
artistic media such as academic research, are presented as lectures
as well as physical objects, incorporated into the physical
collage of the collaboration.
is pleased to host an exhibition-within-an-exhibition of relics
from the Empire S.N.A.F.U. Restoration Project.
Lunskaya Gordon, Curator
Exists now as a Virtual Exhibition. Stage 1 occurred in October
/ November 2006 in Boston. PURE will be presented again in cities
across the globe in collaboration with local artists. For details,
contact the curator.