Travels of William Bartram – Reconsidered

Travels of William Bartram – Reconsidered

Bartram's Garden

December 16, 2007

“Travels of William Bartram- Reconsidered”

Artist/Archeologist/Flea Marketer/Naturalist
MARK DION Heads South to Retrace the Journey of
William Bartram

Travels of William Bartram — Reconsidered will examine the history and culture of 18th century American naturalists, John (1699-1777) and his son William Bartram (1739-1823). Using their travel journals, drawings, and maps, Mark Dion is retracing the journey of William Bartram, in particular, to northern Florida where, like Bartram, he is collecting things both natural and unnatural, making drawings and paintings of them, examining them, and, in keeping with his long standing interest in mail art, is mailing them back to Bartram’s Gardens on the banks of the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The treasures that Dion finds will be installed in the historic home of John Bartram, where they will be displayed in cabinets built especially to house the collections.

Dion’s journey is the quintessential exploratory road trip: part Lewis and Clark, part Jack Kerouac, part Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and part Borat. And you can interact with him online as he parallels William Bartram’s journeys. Armed with letters of introduction, in the manner of the Bartram’s in 18th century Philadelphia, Dion is using a variety of means of transportation and is meeting like-minded individuals on his travels, which commenced in Charleston, South Carolina. John Bartram Societies dot the southeast, and in the areas where the Bartrams traveled, they are particularly prevalent.

Dion’s journey started with a send-off from Bartram’s in mid-November, but his travels can be followed
on-line at:

WWW.MARKDIONSBARTRAMSTRAVELS.COM where monthly video chats, video of daily travels, city stops, photo galleries, and audio along with blogs, Mark’s handwritten journals, drawings and maps that pinpoint where he is will provide a totally unique experience with the artist. From the website you can visit the lush gardens of Bartram’s online and interact with botanists, curators and others.

The exhibition “Mark Dion: Travels of William Bartram — Reconsideredis curated by independent curator, Julie Courtney. It will open June 20, 2008 at Bartram’s Garden coinciding with the Americans for the Arts Conference in Philadelphia.

This project has been supported by a grant from the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative and the Marketing Innovation Program, both programs of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

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