Public Programs

Artist Spotlight: Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman

Thursday, April 20
6:00-7:00 PM Program
7:00-8:00 PM Reception

SVA Theatre, 333 W. 23rd Street

This program is free and open to the public. Can’t attend in person? Join us live via Zoom webinar below!


Join the AFA for an artist conversation between Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman, the featured artists in the AFA’s upcoming show, Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature’s Underworld, moderated by Kate Menconeri, Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, Contemporary Art, and Fellowship at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site.

This artist spotlight will focus on Dion and Rockman’s artistic practices, the themes present in their work such as natural history and climate change, and their long-standing friendship. A brief reception will follow this program.

This program is presented in conjunction with the AFA’s upcoming exhibition, Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: Journey to Nature’s Underworld. Featuring works addressing themes such as invasive and endangered species, beleaguered aquatic environments, and future scenarios evincing effects of climate change and waning biodiversity, the first two-person exhibition of these celebrated artists will debut at The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT on June 24, 2023.

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Mark Dion (b. 1961) received his BFA (1986) and an honorary doctorate (2003) from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, and attended the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. By locating the roots of environmental politics and public policy in the construction of knowledge about nature, Mark Dion questions the objectivity and authoritative role of the scientific voice in contemporary society, tracking how pseudo-science, social agendas and ideology creep into public discourse and knowledge production. He is the co-director of Mildred’s Land, an innovative visual art education and residency program in Beach Lake, and lives with his wife and frequent collaborator, Dana Sherwood, in Copake, New York.

Photo: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015.

Alexis Rockman (b. 1962) has exhibited extensively worldwide since 1985. He has been the subject of many international solo and group exhibitions, including a major retrospective organized at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His work is also included in public and private collections around the world, and he has held several teaching posts at prestigious institutions, such as Columbia and Harvard. Recent exhibitions include Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks, 2021-22 at Guild Hall, East Hampton, which traveled to Peabody Essex Museum, The Ackland Museum and the Princeton University Art Museum, the upcoming Oceanus, 2023 at the Mystic Seaport Museum and Mark Dion and Alexis Rockman: A Journey Through Nature’s Underworld, 2023, will begin its tour at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT. Rockman lives and works in Warren, CT.


Kate Menconeri is the Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, Contemporary Art, and Fellowship at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. She has organized over 100 exhibitions and publications that include nineteenth century to contemporary artists such as Thomas Cole, Nick Cave, Leslie Hewitt, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Kiki Smith. She worked with artists Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood to realize The Pollinator Pavilion, and co-curated Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church, and Our Contemporary Moment. Menconeri conceived and curates OPEN HOUSE: Contemporary Art in Conversation with Cole, and most recently co-curated Women Reframe American Landscape: Susie Barstow & Her Circle / Contemporary Practices which will debut at the Cole Site in 2023. Her curated exhibitions have been featured in The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Hyperallergic, and awarded grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and the Terra Foundation. She has presented talks with the United Nations, Art Omi, the Albuquerque Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and The Reynolda House Museum of American Art, among others. She earned a MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.



AFA Public programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. These programs are also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. We are also grateful for the support of the American Chai Trust.



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