Fossilized and Realized: La Brea Tar Pits in Art and Popular Culture
In conjunction with the NHMLAC family of museums, artist Mark Dion, the Getty Foundation, and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, come celebrate La Brea Tar Pits this fall by joining this panel discussion on the inspirational significance of LBTP in the cultural consciousness and experience of Los Angeles. Panelists may also speak on how visual art and popular culture may help (or hinder) the understanding of and access to the science of the La Brea Tar Pits.
This event is part of LBTP x Pacific Standard Time: Mark Dion, an artist's residency at LBTP funded by the Getty Foundation as part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time 2024: Art x Science x L.A. initiative, a series of exhibitions, public programs, and publications that will explore connections between the visual arts and science from prehistoric times to the present and across different cultures worldwide.
Mark Dion was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He received a BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford, School of Art, Connecticut. 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.
Alison Laurence, PhD
Alison Laurence is a historian and lecturer at Stanford University, where she teaches liberal arts courses. When not working with undergraduates, she spends her time hunting dinosaurs and other extinct things in the archives. Her scholarship, based on doctoral research completed at MIT, examines natural history as cultural history.
Carl Cheng's artwork results from an attitude that says we, humans, are not adversaries of nature but are a part of nature. Even if we destroy everything in the world including ourselves, nature will continue to evolve. A small earthquake or tornado and we're totally helpless. Nature never loses.
As Museum Archivist and Library Resources Manager, Yolanda directs all activities related to the museum archives, libraries, and library special collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and La Brea Tar Pits Museum. Yolanda arranges, describes, and provides access to the analog and digital institutional archival collections. She also manages library holdings, services, and the rare books collection in support of museum staff. Yolanda joined the museum in 2017 as the first professional archivist in this role and is making strides at improving collections accessibility for those who wish to use the resources. Yolanda holds masters degrees in both Archival Studies (MAS) and Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of British Columbia (UBC).