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The Great Chain of Being
This preparatory drawing for Mark Dion's The Great Chain of Being (1999), a new work created for The Museum as Muse: Artists Reflect, reveals the artist's interest in natural history museums and in the Renaissance method of display known as the Wunderkammer, or "cabinet of curiosities." Dion uses the natural history museum to "trace the development of the social construction of nature." He writes: "By critically analyzing the master narratives and techniques of display employed by the institution, I can discern the ideology embedded in them. Being critical may also be just another way to love these museums."
Mark Dion.
The Great Chain of Being. 1998.

Red and blue pencil on paper, 11 x 14" (27.9 x 35.5 cm). Collection the artist. Photo: courtesy American Fine Arts Co., New York

  ©1999 The Museum of Modern Art, New York MoMA