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Northwestern University

Art and Science: Traversing the Creative Spectrum

Art and science have often been considered diametrically opposed, but in truth they have never been. Both are born from individual creativity and invention, and both employ process, and both attempt to make sense of the world.

Art and Science: Traversing the Creative Spectrum is a new exhibit in University and Mudd Libraries that examines the historical interconnectedness of art and science, two disciplines forever linked on the same spectrum of creativity. Running from May 18 through Sept. 4, the exhibit draws upon the work being done around Northwestern, as well as from the Library’s eclectic holdings, to demonstrate how these two fields are constantly informing the other. From the intricate scientific illustrations at the dawn of anatomy to the photography that is helping us discover the universe, "Art and Science” shows how these fields are complementary fields, not contrary.

The exhibit also features work being done by NU-ACCESS, a collaboration between Northwestern and the Art Institute of Chicago, as it explores the mystery of Paul Gauguin’s woodblocks. The 19th century artist employed experimental methods when transferring images from one surface to another that technical art historians have puzzled over for years. Through innovative analysis and computational methods, NU-ACCESS employed 3D printing to fabricate an exact replica of a Gauguin woodblock that will help unravel the mysteries of Gauguin’s process.

Northwestern University Library will host a symposium in conjunction with the exhibit, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., May 26 in the Forum Room (2nd floor of the Library). Speakers include:

S. Hollis Clayson, Professor of Art History and Bergen Evans Professor in the Humanities
“Mary Cassatt’s Lamp”

Susan Russick, University Library Conservator
“The Needle in the Haystack: Preserving Research Library Collections with a Focus on Unique Items”

Harriet Stratis, Senior Research Conservator, Art Institute of Chicago
“The Graphic Works of Paul Gauguin: Unraveling the Mystery of His Studio Practices”

Marc Walton, Senior Scientist for the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, and
Oliver Cossairt, Lisa Wissner-Slivka and Benjamin Slivka Junior Professor of Computer Science
“Surface-Shape Studies of Gauguin’s Monotypes, Prints, and Drawings”

Northwestern University Library will present a talk by Julio Ottino, Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, in conjunction with the exhibit, on June 11 at 4:00 pm in the New Book Alcove (1st floor of University Library). 

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