Mark Dion (b. 1961, New Bedford, Massachusetts) received a BFA in 1986 and an honorary doctorate in 2003 from the University of Hartford School of Art.
Dion’s practice examines the ways in which dominant public ideologies and institutions shape the way we create meaning and think about history, and he believes that the role of the artist is “to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention.” In particular, he looks at the ways museums frame our understanding of objects, and he uses techniques such as employing an artificial scientific or archaeological tone in order to challenge the viewer’s perception of the veracity of the art and the ideas it presents. Dion is also concerned with how issues regarding environmental politics, public policy, and the authoritative scientific voice incorrectly frame public understanding of nature.
He has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001) and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucida Art Award (2008). He has had major exhibitions at the Miami Art Museum (2006); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004); Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2003); and Tate Gallery, London (1999). “Neukom Vivarium” (2006), a permanent outdoor installation and learning lab for the Olympic Sculpture Park, was commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum. Dion lives and works in Pennsylvania.