“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” – Aristotle

What better to represent this Mobius-strip mind-bend blurring of our inner and outer worlds than an exhibit entitled “Back to Earth: Preparing a Voyage to Mars,” an exciting new installation coming to MSEL’s Q-level. It combines an extensive collection of objects culled from JHU’s biology archives, actual pieces of probes from the 1970s Viking project, and creative works from award-winning artists Jonathan Latiano, Jenn Figg and Matthew McCormack. The exhibit kicks-off with an opening reception from 4pm-7pm on April 25th, and remains on Q until May 30th.

How did the library end up as host to this display? To bring on these kinds of projects , our administrative team works with Jackie O’Regan, Curator of JHU’s own Cultural Properties. Along with managing Hopkins collections, Jackie also collaborates with outside artists and curators to bring in temporary exhibits such as the one arriving in April. “Back to Earth” for example is guest-curated by MICA’s Xiaotian Yang, with input from JHU biology professor Dr. Jocelyne DiRuggiero and the featured artists. Thanks to this collaboration, the show “reflects the ongoing efforts of an interdisciplinary team of JHU scientists investigating fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of the universe,” according to Yang, while the works of art will strive “to initiate dialogue, inspire minds, and create dynamic space to ferret out the universe’s deepest mysteries.”

If the Q-display leaves you wanting more, you can take advantage of the library’s many resources to enrich your experience. The online Catalyst search engine allows you to seek out concepts as diverse as “Zen in Japanese art : a way of spiritual experience” to “image fundamentalism” and “image neoliberalism” in articles like “Art After Social Media.” You can also take a look at our online Art History Guide, where the wealth of resources and links could cause your free time to evaporate like turpentine in a hot studio as you decide whether to link to art history databases around the world, take a scroll along the banks of Larry Rivers, or learn how to navigate image copyright laws. So for those who are seeking out and looking in, enjoy!

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