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The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Series on Genomics, Bioe) [Hardcover]

by Suzanne Anker, Dorothy Nelkin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1, 2003 0879696974 978-0879696979 1
The gene has become a cultural icon and an increasingly rich source of imagery and ideas for visual artists. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary painting and sculpture, The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age explores the moral and bioethical questions these works address. What does it mean to be human? What is "identity" in a society of genetically manipulated individuals? Questions like these are growing louder as genetic technology advances and the public examines the ethical consequences more widely. Suzanne Anker and Dorothy Nelkin, an artist and a social scientist, have written a thought-provoking and visually fascinating book for scientists, artists, students, and general readers intrigued by the anxiety and exhilaration of the genetic age.

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The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Series on Genomics, Bioe) + Visual Culture and Bioscience (Issues in Cultural Theory)
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Editorial Reviews


In The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age, authors Suzanne Anker and Dorothy Nelkin examine the intersections between art and science in the developing arena of genetic research and engineering. The book is clearly written, well documented, and lavishly illustrated. It will appeal to a wide audience, including artists, scientists, and the general public with an interest in the host of ethical and social questions raised by molecular science. Genome News Network The Molecular Gaze, published just months after the sad death of Dorothy Nelkin, is a work of art. Literally, in the sense of being about art (and more specifically, about art in the age of genetics), and figuratively, in the sense of being a visually elegant and aesthetically satisfying production. It is also timely: as Anker (an artist and art historian) and Nelkin (a sociologist of science) document, in the space of little more than a decade, the incorporation of molecular genetics into the visual arts-as icon, as motif, as subject, and even as technique-has emerged as a not so minor industry. BioEssays --Cold Spring Harbor

Product Details

  • Series: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press Series on Genomics, Bioe
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879696974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879696979
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,292,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Suzanne Anker is a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. She works in a variety of mediums ranging from digital sculpture and installation to large-scale photography to plants grown by LED lights.

Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in museums and galleries including the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Phillips Collection, P.S.1 Museum, the JP Getty Museum, the Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charite in Berlin, the Center for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, the Pera Museum in Istanbul, the Museum of Modern Art in Japan, and the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

Her books include "The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age", co-authored with the late sociologist Dorothy Nelkin, published in 2004 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, "Visual Culture and Bioscience", co-published by University of Maryland and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Her writings have appeared in Art and America, Seed Magazine, Nature Reviews Genetics, Art Journal, Tema Celeste and M/E/A/N/I/N/G. Her work has been the subject of reviews and articles in the New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, and Nature.

She has hosted twenty episodes of the Bio Blurb show, an Internet radio program originally on WPS1 Art Radio, in collaboration with MoMA in NYC, now archived on Alana Heiss' Art On Air. She has been a speaker at Harvard University, the Royal Society in London, Cambridge University, Yale University, the London School of Economics, the Max-Planck Institute, Universitiy of Leiden, the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Banff Art Center any many others.

Chairing SVA's Fine Arts Department in NYC since 2005, Ms. Anker continues to interweave traditional and experimental media in her department's new digital initiative and the Nature and Technology BioArt Lab.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An artistic journey through contemporary scientific ideas February 23, 2004
This is a very inspiring book. An excellent and complete overview of how genetic research is permeating popular culture, of how the gene has become a powerful and pervasive icon with a social meaning that goes beyond its biological properties.
This is an excellent volume for those who are interested in the regular shifts of boundaries between the domains of art and science. The authors explore the rise of an increasingly important new trend in contemporary art involving science by documenting the ideas and images that artists are using in association with the genetic view of life. They underline and provide insight into the social and cultural meaning of genetic research and of genetic essentialism through contemporary artists' interpretation of scientific process. In its well odered and relevantly different sections, Suzanne Anker and Dorothy Nelkin touch upon topics such as the sequencing of the genome and the reduction of humans to 'molecularl texts', the concept of identity, genetic engineering, the creation of transgenics and chimeras, assisted reproduction and cloning.
It is thorough work and well written, with the necessary historical references. A continuous, witty, appropriate and precise account of the questions, concepts, ideas and images fluctuating between the realm of science and that of art. I highly recommend it. A very good buy.
Giovanni Frazzetto (Molecular Biologist, Writer)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age April 18, 2008
Fantastic! Filled with images of artwork that actually relates to and is about science. (A lot of books and articles I have been reading for my thesis make broad gestures to famous paintings that have little to nothing to do with science.) As a biologist and an artists, this was the most informative, interesting and engaging book I have ever read.

Besides - lots and lots of tasty pictures. I wish i had more time to write a better review - but I'll just say that every art student, scientist, and most importantly gallery curators and art historians must have.

oh happy day, and actual interesting and beautiful to look at book about art and science. Not random "ideas" and babbling - but REAL SCIENCE and REAL ART.
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