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Slide Slam

Monday, April 28, 2014

Forest Floor Diorama 1958 photograph

Library Special Collections at the American Museum of Natural History is proud to launch its wide-ranging new online database of digital images from the Library’s collections, featuring many images never before seen outside the Library. Come celebrate this milestone as Library Director Tom Baione moderates a lively discussion with renowned New York-based artists Alexis Rockman and Mark Dion about how these images have been influential to their careers.The discussion will be illustrated with slides of the artists’ popular work, juxtaposed with the Museum images that inspired their creativity and artistic experience.

To view the Library's Digital Special Collections site, visit

As a memento, each guest will receive a packet of historic 35mm lecture slides from the Library's collection. In the pre-Internet era, these slides were provided to educators and researchers for presentations and reference.

Mark Dion

Mark Dion was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1961. He received a BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art  School,  in Connecticut. He also attended the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program. Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. The job of the artist, he says, is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between ‘objective’ (‘rational’) scientific methods and ‘subjective’ (‘irrational’) influences.

For more information:


Alexis Rockman

Born in 1962 in New York, where he lives and works, Alexis Rockman has depicted a darkly surreal vision of the collision between civilization and nature -- often apocalyptic scenarios on a monumental scale -- for over three decades. Recent notable museum solo exhibitions include "Alexis Rockman: Manifest Destiny" at the Brooklyn Museum, in 2004, which traveled to several institutions including the Rhode Island School of Design and the Wexner Center. The Smithsonian American Art Museum organized "Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow," a major touring survey of his paintings and works on paper in 2010. Concurrent with Rockman's exhibition at Sperone Westwater in 2013, the Drawing Center featured "Drawings from Life of Pi." The artist had collaborated with director Ang Lee on the prize-winning film "Life of Pi," preparing conceptual sketches of a dreamlike journey into the depths of the ocean to serve as visual inspiration.

For more information: