Studying these cells could lead to new treatments for diseases ranging from gastrointestinal disease to diabetes.
The first survey of works by Michael Joo, who studied biology at Wesleyan University and worked at a seed science company in Europe before making the move to art, is currently on view at the List Visual Arts Center.
Events on Saturday, Nov. 1 include a talk by the artist from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at the List Center and a public reception from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Organized by List Center director Jane Farver, the exhibition of more than 60 works created between 1992 and 2003 includes sculpture, video, installation and works on paper. The show also includes the world premiere of Joo's three-screen digital video installation, "Circannual Rhythm (Pibloktok)," which was shot on location in Alaska.
A second-generation Korean-American, Joo was born in 1966 in Ithaca, N.Y., and raised there and near Minneapolis. His interest in science informs his art, which examines the effects of race and/or gender on identity and goes beyond that to explore how science, religion and the media all shape consciousness.
"Joo's works--and even his most abstract works--always refer to the natural world, and even his most 'realistic' pieces can seem apparitional, uncanny and abstract," said Farver. "There is perversity to be found here and perseverance and humor counters darkness in an ongoing cycle."
Joo, who was chosen to represent South Korea in the 2001 Venice Biennale, first gained international attention in 1994 when Damien Hirst included him in the groundbreaking exhibition, "Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away" at London's Serpentine Gallery. Joo has received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1998) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters' and Sculptors' Grant (2000), and has exhibited widely throughout Europe and Asia.
"Michael Joo" is on view through Jan. 4. For more information, call 253-4680 or see http://web.mit.edu/lvac/www.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 29, 2003.