Mark Dion was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1961. He received a B.F.A. (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, in Connecticut. He also attended The School of Visual Arts in New York, the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program and is an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University in the UK (2014).
The artist’s spectacular and often fantastical curiosity cabinets, modeled on Wunderkammen of the 16th Century, exalt atypical orderings of objects and specimens. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Mark Dion questions the authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society.
He has received numerous awards, including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2001) The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2007) 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); Tate Gallery, London (1999); and the British Museum of Natural History in London (2007).
He is the co-director (with J. Morgan Puett) of Mildred’s Land, an innovative visual art education and residency program and think tank in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.
For over two decades Dion has worked in the public realm on a wide range of scales, from architecture projects to print project in newspaper. Some of his large scale public projects include The Amateur Ornithologist Clubhouse, a Captain Nemo-like interior constructed in a vast gas tank in Essen, Germany; The Hanging Garden, a collaboration with the landscape design firm Gross Max in central London, which consists of a fire escape-like vertical garden; and Den, a large scale folly in Norway’s mountainous landscape, which features a massive sculpture of a sleeping bear resting on a hill of material culture from the neolithic to the present. Dion also produced a large-scale permanent commission for Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany as well as for the Montevideo Biannale in Uruguay, The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, Porthmeor Studios in St. Ives, and the Port of Los Angeles.
Dion lives with his wife and frequent collaborator Dana Sherwood in New York City and works worldwide.