CalArts Alumni, Faculty Make Art at Mount Wilson Observatory this Weekend

Solar Magnetogram, January-March, 2000. (Courtesy Mount Wilson Observatory).

KNOWLEDGES, an experimental art initiative, invites the public to experience nature and science through a contemporary art lens—more than 5,000 feet above Los Angeles.

A number of CalArtians are participating in the art happening, which takes place this weekend (June 23-24) at Mount Wilson Observatory, located in the San Gabriel Mountains just outside of Pasadena.

The observatory is a working scientific research center housing two historically important telescopes. KNOWLEDGES uses the observatory grounds to showcase the work of more than 30 contemporary artists in exhibition, performances, film/video screenings and other forms of temporary art installations, which extend ideas embodied by the observatory itself.

Curated by two CalArts alumni Elleni Sclavenitis (Art MFA 09) and Christina Ondrus (Art MFA 09), the roster of artists includes CalArts faculty members James Benning, Charles Gaines, Norman Klein and Tom Leeser, as well as fellow graduates Chi-wang Yang (Theater/IM MFA 07), Miwa Matreyek (Film/Video MFA 07) and Anna Oxygen (Music MFA 08), who comprise the performance group Cloud Eye Control; Zoe Crosher (Art/IM MFA 07); David Wilson (Film/Video MFA 76) of the Museum of Jurassic Technology; Kim Schoen (Art MFA 05); Mark Hagen (Art MFA 02); Emily Lacy (Film/Video MFA 06); April Totten (MFA 09); Kara Tanaka (MFA 08); Cody Trepte (Art MFA 10); Marilyn Lowey (Art MFA 10); and Louisa Van Leer (Art MFA 06).

The projects scheduled throughout the weekend focus on astronomy, scientific discovery, space exploration, optics, recorded observation, philosophical questions of cosmology, the history, aesthetics and ecology of the site and its influence upon the cultural landscape of LA.

From the curators:

KNOWLEDGES at Mount Wilson Observatory presents contextual explorations of contemporary art and science—the formal parallels between which are many. Artists and scientists share literal vision, and also create conceptual models to envision the unseen. Scientific documentation and engineering corresponds to artistic exploration and craft in many ways: for nearly one hundred years, scientists at Mount Wilson Observatory have created daily sunspot drawings viewed from the 150-foot Solar-Tower, much telescopic observation is recorded through direct photography, deep space images are colored as they might be perceived by the naked human eye, and scientific instruments are observed as stunning objects, in and of themselves. All of these activities share an aesthetic discourse with art and a fascinating exchange between traditional and innovative methodologies that transform experiences of the universe into knowledge.

The event is free to the public, but because the observatory is in the Angeles National Forest, an Adventure Pass ($5 per car/one day or $30 per car/one year )is required for each vehicle parked on the grounds.

Mt. Wilson Observatory
Saturday June 23rd, 10 am-7:30 pm
Sunday June 24th, 10 am-5 pm
Night-Viewing Program: Saturday June 23, 7:30 pm-12 am***

***Due to overwhelming demand and limited capacity the night viewing program is now full and closed to the public. 

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