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Seeing Stars: Artist Lecture and Stargazing at the MoCP

Aspen Mays, Punched Out Stars, Silver Gelatin Print, 2011

Throughout history, humans have devised countless ways to make sense of the universe surrounding them. Tomorrow evening, artist Aspen Mays, Ph.D Kathryn Schaffer and astronomer Joe Guzman will examine two of the most prominent instruments for studying the universe today: the telescope and the camera.

In conjunction with Our Origins, which is on display at the MoCP through October 16, Mays and Schaffer will discuss the similar ways scientists and artists search for insight into the broad expanses of the universe: by examining with a keen eye and intelligent insight.

Beginning at 6 p.m., Our Origins curator Allison Grant will moderate the conversation between Mays, whose past work is steeped scientific exploration and anthropological awareness, and Schaffer, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago whose experience includes stargazing with the South Pole Telescope.

At 8 p.m., guests will be escorted across the street to Grant Park, where Guzman will host a stargazing session.

At the event, we will be selling archival inkjet prints of Map of the World (after Buckminster Fuller), Aspen Mays’ 2011 selection from the MoCP’s Fine Print Program.

Admission is free and open to the public. While it is not mandatory to RSVP, it can be done via our Facebook page.

MoCP in the News: Press for Our Origins

“Where do we, as humans, come from?” With such a broad question at the heart of Our Origins, it’s no wonder the exhibition has gotten people talking. From art critics to bloggers, take a look at what people are saying about Our Origins, which is on display at the MoCP through October 16:

Jennifer Ray, Strangler Fig Embrace, 2009; Courtesy of the artist

“Inspired by everything from fossils to x-ray diffusion, this ambitious group show considers the unanswerable questions — all from a very self-conscious, often very funny point of view.” – Flavor Pill Chicago

“The chatter about where we come from seems inescapable. Which is what makes the relative silence of Our Origins refreshing.” – Chicago Reader

“Plenty of thought-provoking works on view.” – Time Out Chicago

“[Our Origins] reflects on natural history from a distinctly human point of view.” – The Beacon-News

“For all the wit, wisdom and insight here, Alison Ruttan steals the show… [While she] may not have revealed the mysteries of being; she has effectively portrayed us as too close to other primates for comfort, evoking a mixture of humor, absurdity, depression, truth and self-recognition.” – Newcity Art

In addition to the show, curator Allison Grant also gets a little love:

“It’s refreshing to see a curator take aim at the largest human questions, and it’s good for Grant’s first exhibition ever. I admire that ambition and hope Grant will continue probing those deep questions, since for as many artists as there are investigating consumerism and commodity culture, there are just as many examining the hard philosophical and scientific question” – Art Slant