From the Laboratory to the Studio: Interdisciplinary Practices in Bio Art

From the Laboratory to the Studio: Interdisciplinary Practices in Bio Art

School of Visual Arts (SVA)

Tarah Rhoda. Ourglass, 2017. Spinach, ethanol, IV bag, volumetric flask, syringe, ultraviolet light, iron, wood. Photo: Paul Valverde.

February 26, 2018
From the Laboratory to the Studio: Interdisciplinary Practices in Bio Art
Summer Residency Programs at The School of Visual Arts
May 14–June 15, 2018
Priority deadline: April 1
School of Visual Arts (SVA)
209 East 23rd Street
New York, New York 10010
United States
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Priority deadline: April 1

To apply visit 

From anatomical studies to landscape painting to the biomorphism of surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, bio art has become a term referring to intersecting domains of the biological sciences and their incorporation into the plastic arts. Of particular importance in bio art is to summon awareness of the ways in which advancing biotechnologies alter social, ethical and cultural values in society.

Coming to the fore in the early 1990s, bio art is neither media specific nor locally bounded. It is an international movement with practitioners in such regions as Europe, the U.S., Russia, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Several sub-genres of bio art exist within this overarching term:

(1) Artists who employ the iconography of the 20th- and 21st-century sciences, including molecular and cellular genetics, transgenically altered living matter, reproductive technologies and neurosciences. All traditional media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing are employed to convey novel ways of representing life forms.

(2) Artists who utilize computer software, systems theory and simulations to investigate aspects of the biological sciences such as evolution, artificial life and robotics through digital sculpture and new media installations.

(3) Artists employing biological matter itself as their medium, including processes such as tissue engineering, plant breeding, transgenics and ecological reclamation.

This interdisciplinary residency will take place in the new SVA Bio Art Laboratory located in the heart of New York City’s Chelsea gallery district. The SVA Bio Art Lab houses microscopes for photo and video; skeletons; specimen and slide collections; a herbarium; and an aquarium, as well as a library. Each student resident is awarded a private studio space. The residency culminates in a public exhibition.

Demonstrations include microscopy, plant tissue engineering, molecular cuisine and the production of micro ecosystems. Students may work in any media, including the performing arts.

Faculty and guest lecturers have included Suzanne Anker, Oron Catts, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Joseph DeGiorgis, Kathy High, Ellen Jorgensen, Oliver Medvedik, James Walsh and Jennifer Willet.

More about Bio Art at SVA on Vimeo

For more information about bio art at SVA, visit

For further information or questions regarding SVA’s Summer Residencies, please  e-mail residency [​at​] or call T 212 592 2188.

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February 26, 2018

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