Collection: Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature’s Underworld

Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

February 9 – June 9, 2024

Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature’s Underworld explores the enduring friendship and shared passions between two renowned artists for over three decades. Both artists have achieved international recognition on their own, yet their creative paths have intertwined as they’ve explored complex ecological issues. This exhibition unites sculptures, installations, and paintings created by both artists.

Dion and Rockman subvert traditional museum experiences using tools of science and allegory. Each display becomes a theater of dissent. Dion's taxidermy dioramas and specimen cabinets unveil the truth of our strained relationship with nature. Rockman’s dense, populated landscapes depict the apocalyptic visions of a world in peril.

The concept of the "underworld" has many different associations. It can mean anything from the mythic land of the dead to the hidden depths of the Earth. In the realm of the underworld, Dion and Rockman guide us through our collective unconscious. They expose the dark desires and denial that drive our culture's harmful course. Their works serve as a warning: We need to confront ecological crisis and forge a new path toward a sustainable future.

The exhibition is divided into four sections, exploring themes and touchpoints that hold significance for both artists: Natural Classifications, Into the Wilds, In Deep Waters, and Time Travels. It culminates in a collaborative diorama that distills many of their shared concerns into a single work. The “underworld” within this exhibition encompasses several relevant associations, including the mythic land of the dead, archaeology, Earth’s subsurface, and elements of criminality. Within the context of Dion’s and Rockman’s works, the “underworld” also incorporates unconscious beliefs about nature, invisible micro and macro dimensions, and deep denial of our culture's harmful course.

7 products
Biosphere: Hydrographer's Canyon by Alexis Rockman
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The Farm by Alexis Rockman
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Adelies by Alexis Rockman
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Fever Dream by Alexis Rockman
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Disney World I by Alexis Rockman
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Pioneers by Alexis Rockman
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Departure by Alexis Rockman
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