Science and art: Galleries and exhibits

By | July 16, 2017

The worlds of science and art overlap, as the subjects of scientific research inspire artists. These destinations offer artistic perspectives on the work of scientists and the often-beautiful things and systems that they study.

The exhibits at the Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge include the glass flowers, or, more formally, the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants. These glass models were originally created by the father-and-son team of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka for Harvard professor George Lincoln Goodale to use as teaching aids.

Princeton University hosts an Art of Science competition and exhibit to which students, faculty, alumni, and staff submit their work. The 2017 exhibit is on display in the Friend Center Atrium at Princeton; you can view artworks from past exhibits at the web site.

The Rondina and LoFaro Art Gallery at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx exhibits items from the garden’s Mertz Library  well as garden-related art from other institutions. In addition, the NYBG is currently hosting an exhibit of the work of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (April 22 to October 29, 2017).

The SciArt Center in New York aims to foster cross-disciplinary work between artists and scientists. The center hosts pop-up art exhibits in and around New York City; you can view works from these exhibits online. It also offers a collection of science-inspired art for sale online.

Art.Science.Gallery in Austin hosts science-inspired art exhibits and classes. Its current exhibit, Far Out (June 3 to July 29, 2017) is a traveling version of an exhibit at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center and contains art inspired by the James Webb Space Telescope. Its upcoming exhibit (Aubust 12 to October 1, 2017) is all about The Birds.

The UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Science Education Center in Boulder includes an Art-Science Gallery that exhibits artworks related to environmental science, climate change, and sustainability.

The arts are a part of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson, which includes an Art Institute that offers classes and a certificate program. Artworks are also exhibited in the Ironwood Gallery and the Baldwin Education Building.

Heron Hall Art Gallery, part of the Laguna Environmental Center in Santa Rosa, California, exhibits several shows per year of art inspired by nature. The art is for sale, and proceeds benefit the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation.

The University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley presents exhibits that link science and culture. Past exhibits have featured botanical illustrations and seed pod photography.

The arts (including music) are an important part of the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The Arts at the Exploratorium page has information on current exhibits and programs (including events for visitors and an artist-in-residence program).

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove, California, showcases the wildlife, geology, plants, and human history of California’s central coast. It includes among its collections several pieces of environmental art as well as Native American baskets, pottery, and textiles. Every year in the spring it presents an exhibit of scientific illustrations made by the students of the Science Illustration Program of California State University at Monterey Bay.