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NAS Announces New Exhibition on Identity and Genetics by Ariel Ruiz i Altaba


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Washington – The Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce Geneva-based artist Ariel Ruiz i Altaba’s D.C. premier, “Evolving Identities in the Genetic Age.” The exhibition is on view by appointment through Oct. 15 at the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. It will be on public view from Oct. 20 to Dec. 20 at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C.

What is a portrait in an era when technology enables us to see so far beneath the surface? Exploring issues of identity and classification, this exhibition deconstructs classical concepts of portraiture and extends them to a molecular level. The images superimpose portraits, human silhouettes, DNA sequencing ladders, and test tubes containing human tissue and DNA samples. Through these images, artist and scientist Ruiz i Altaba asks us to contemplate the factors that determine who we are and who we will become.

Ruiz i Altaba was born in Mexico City and grew up in Barcelona. His photographic work explores the intersection of biology and art and focuses on issues of identity. He received his doctorate in molecular biology and biochemistry from Harvard University and he is the Louis-Jeantet Professor of Stem Cell Research at the University of Geneva. His lab studies pattern formation, stem cells, and the development of the brain and cancer.

Ruiz i Altaba also is the founding director of WetLab, a forum based in New York City for the interchange of ideas between science and the visual arts. His photographs and texts have appeared in numerous shows and magazines. His work is included in the collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; and many private collections.

Related Events

The Face of Contemporary Portraiture in the Wake of Recent Revolutions in Technology and Science

(July 20, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m)

Join Anne Collins Goodyear, assistant curator, National Portrait Gallery, for a lecture on science and technology’s influence on contemporary portraiture. She will examine the work of artists such as Elizabeth Peyton, Marc Quinn, Gary Schneider, and Andy Warhol. Her lecture will take place at the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. A reception will follow.

Portraits, Stem Cells, and the Self

(Nov. 18, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

Join Ariel Ruiz i Altaba and other art and science experts at a round-table discussion of the ways in which advances in science have affected visual culture and our perceptions of self. The discussion will be held at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2100 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. A reception will follow.

For more than 20 years, the Office of Exhibitions and Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences has sponsored exhibitions, concerts, and other events that explore relationships among the arts and sciences.



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