SuMFA Food for Thought Lecture Series: Mel Chin

Mel Chin is a well-established artist who is always thinking outside the box. His conceptual work often blends installation art and science, particularly environmental studies. He is represented by the Frederieke Taylor Gallery in New York City, and the Museum of Modern Art owns a few of his drawings.

Mel Chin's Revival Field
Mel Chin's Revival Field

To find out more about his work, watch his interview during the first season of Art 21 (ask at the Greenfield Library circulation desk for GD 336 or watch it online). There are also many articles on him; these can be found through WilsonWeb on the UArts Libraries’ website (if you are off campus, you will have to log on with your name and library barcode).

Eric Bookhardt, in “From Field Testing to Even Exchange: Mel Chin discusses Operation Paydirt and Safehouse,” (in Art Papers from January/February 2009) provides an in-depth look at two of Chin’s installation works. Bookhardt introduces Chin by calling his art “an amalgam of the scientific and poetic.”

In another Art Papers (September/October 2006) article, Christopher French reviews the 1988-2005 survey exhibition of Chin’s work, Do Not Ask Me, at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art. This essay follows the exhibition in that it discusses Chin’s smaller works – assemblage sculptures.

Victoria Vesna, in “Mel Chin – Provocative Eco-Art in Action,” (Art Journal, Spring 2006) is a thought provoking essay on Chin’s environmental work. Vesna notes that Chin creates “work that addresses issues of habitat devastation, restoration, and sustaining the planet’s biodiversity.”

The Greenfield Library also has two books that contain material on Chin and his artwork. Tom Finkelpearl’s Dialogues in Public Art: Interviews (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2000) includes an interview with Chin regarding his public environmental artworks. Other artists included in the text are Vito Acconci, Maya Lin, and Krzysztof Wodiczko. Find it in Greenfield Library Open Stacks: 701.03 F495d.

Linda Weintraub’s Art on the Edge and Over: Searching for Art’s Meaning in Contemporary Society (Litchfield: Art Insights, Inc., 1996) is a terrific complication of essays and includes one on Mel Chin and his environmental works. Find it in the Greenfield Library Open Stacks: 709.04 W433a.

Find out more information on the Summer MFA Food for Thought lecture series. Lectures are about an hour long, free and open to the public.

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