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Innovative exhibition on energy at Nassau Museum brings together art and science
The exhibition includes a monumental painting by Doug Argue similar to the one commissioned for the World Trade Center lobby.

ROSLYN HARBOR, NY.- For the first time at any art museum, top-tier scientists and major figures in art (including Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, Julie Mehretu and Man Ray) are brought together in one interactive exhibition. Prepared in collaboration with the Brookhaven National Laboratories and the Tesla Museum, this innovative show uses masterworks of art side-by-side with images produced by the most advanced scientific instruments and an active “cloud chamber” experiment from Brookhaven (North America’s only super-collider) to explore the invisible world of energy in all its many forms. Nikola Tesla’s original laboratory is re-created in the museum, complete with generators, instruments and his original drawings tracking his inventions of alternating current, long-distance wireless signals (the predecessor of WiFi) and other epochal discoveries. The galleries are filled with major works of painting and sculpture by artists who are fascinated with energy, from electricity to sunlight, nuclear fission, electromagnetic waves, cosmic force fields, the natural voltage of the human body, and sub-atomic activity.

At the summit of human thought, a dialogue between art and science is engaged on the topic of energy. The minds that meet in one show include Albert Einstein and Tesla (both of whom lived on Long Island), international art stars Julie Mehretu, Man Ray, Mark Tobey, James Rosenquist (a ten-foot wide painting that includes a spinning clock dial), Keith Sonnier, Richard Poussette-Dart and local legend Barbara Prey. One unforgettable experience is the aurora borealis created, using natural light and translucent materials, by sculptor Miya Ando inside the elegant gallery that was the original dining room of the mansion. It is one of several works created on commission for the show. Others include a monumental painting by Doug Argue similar to the one commissioned for the World Trade Center lobby and a series of Energy Field paintings by Scott McIntire.

Though invisible, energy is all around us. Here is physicist Brian Green, in his masterful book The Fabric of the Cosmos, on the invisible world our artists have put on canvas and paper: “Living among radio and television broadcasts, cellphone communications, the sun’s heat and light, we are all constantly awash in a sea of electromagnetic fields…When you see something, you can think of it in terms of a waving electromagnetic field entering your eye and stimulating your retina, or in terms of photon particles entering your eye and doing the same thing.” Way before our time, the greatest artist of all, Leonardo da Vinci, wrote, “The air is full of infinite lines, straight and radiating, intercrossing and interweaving without ever coinciding one with another; and they represent for every object the true form of their reason (or their explanation).” The science of art meets the art of science in one thrilling show.

Programming for the show includes artists and scientists in the galleries, lectures on the relationship between science and math and art, a forum on the future of energy, and a director’s seminar held in his private office. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essay by curator Charles A. Riley II, PhD.

The exhibition is on view at the Nassau County Museum of Art through November 3, 2019.

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