Art exhibit explores oceans' place in ecology, politics, myth and more

Multi-campus exhibit and events at Tufts University feature multiple representations of the oceanic world through diverse perspectives and analysis

Image from The Ocean After Nature

(The following release was updated on Feb. 1, 2017 to reflect scheduling changes)

BOSTON and MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. (Jan. 12, 2017) -- The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is proud to host "The Ocean After Nature," an exhibit that examines how the seascape is shaped in an era when human beings have become the driving force in the development of the planet. Tufts is celebrating this installation, which opens Jan. 26 and will run through Mar. 18, with a series of events, including receptions, panels, and critical discussions, on two of the university's campuses in greater Boston.

Through the work of 20 artists and collectives, "The Ocean After Nature" explores new ways of representing the ocean as a means to identify and critique such interrelated and chaotic systems of power as land-sea divides, the circulation of people and goods, physical and psychological displacement, utopian mythologies, and the vulnerabilities of our ecosystems. The exhibit uses a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography and film, and incorporates the music of the sound collective Drexciya.

In addition to the exhibit on the Boston campus of the SMFA at Tufts, the Tufts University Art Gallery on the university's Medford/Somerville campus will host "Evelyn Rydz: Floating Artifacts," a participatory exhibit. Through a collection of her photographs of oceanic debris, Rydz, an SMFA alumna, explores the relationship between naturally-occurring geologic materials and organisms and man-made litter and detritus. As part of the Rydz exhibit, which opens Jan. 24, visitors will be able to examine samples of oceanic material through a microscope and record their observations, which will be incorporated into the exhibition.

The public opening reception for "The Ocean After Nature" will be held from 5 - 7 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the Grossman Gallery and Anderson Auditorium on the SMFA at Tufts' campus at 230 The Fenway in Boston. This reception will feature a live music performance by Lamin Fofana. Another reception honoring "Floating Artifacts" and Tufts University Art Gallery's additional spring exhibitions will be held on Jan. 26 from 5 - 7:30 p.m. in the gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus.

Artists Chino Amobi and Lamin Fofana will respond to Drexciya's sound work in "The Ocean After Nature" at a panel moderated by Kris Manjapra, associate professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. This panel, to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the SMFA at Tufts' Anderson Auditorium, will discuss the artists' work through the lens of race, cultural production, and the African diaspora. 

"Territorial Map of the World, 2013" by Yonatan Cohen & Rafi Segal. Courtesy of the artists.

During a panel titled "Bodies of Water, Bodies of Knowledge," fellows from the Mellon Sawyer Seminar at Tufts University will discuss their research on specific artworks presented by the exhibition. The Mellon Sawyer Seminar in Comparative Global Humanities is an innovative, interdisciplinary research collaboration that challenges experts in a variety of humanities fields to consider their work from fresh perspectives. This panel will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 23 in the SMFA at Tufts' Anderson Auditorium.

"The Ocean After Nature" is a traveling exhibition curated by Alaina Claire Feldman and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and tour are made possible, in part, with the generous support from ICI's International Forum and the ICI Board of Trustees. The presentation at the SMFA at Tufts and Tufts University Art Gallery has been organized in collaboration with Carol Stakenas, guest curator.

Feldman will deliver the Beckwith Lecture at Tufts on Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The Beckwith Lecture is an annual event that brings established curators to the SMFA at Tufts to discuss their experiences with art students.

The Grossman Gallery on the SMFA at Tufts' Boston campus is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and closed on Sundays and holidays. The Tufts University Art Gallery on the Medford/Somerville campus is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.


About the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

The School of the Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1876 as part of the Museum of Fine Art’s mission to educate through the arts. After a more than 70-year relationship with Tufts University, it officially became part of Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences in July 2016. The SMFA at Tufts is extraordinary in being affiliated with a world class museum and part of a major research university. Tufts, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

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