This section lists exhibitions that I have curated and related work. As usual, the connecting theme is often the wish to explore connections between science and the wider culture.
Periodic Tales: The Art of the Elements
Compton Verney, Warwickshire, September-December 2015
Many contemporary artists make use of the elements in ways that bring their rich cultural history to colourful life. From charcoal drawing to neon messages, and from Cornelia Parker’s sulphurous ‘Explosion drawings’ to Antony Gormley’s iron men, this exhibition reveals the significance these ultimate raw materials.Read more
Identity: Eight Rooms, Nine Lives
Wellcome Collection, London, 26 November 2009-6 April 2010
Personal identity is a matter of ever-present controversy and negotiation. This exhibition looks at identity through eight figurehead personalities, including Francis Galton, the actor Fiona Shaw, and diarist Samuel Pepys.Read more
Touch Me: Design and Sensation
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, June-August 2005
Using contemporary designs that engage in novel ways with touch, this exhibition explores the role of this neglected sense in our interaction both with objects and with one another. The many imaginative hands-on exhibits provide sensations of delight and pain, arousal and revulsion, and above all reawaken our curiosity about what touch can tell us.Read more
Zoomorphic: New Animal Architecture
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, September 2003-January 2004
This innovative and surprising exhibition places architectural models alongside stuffed animal specimens (borrowed from the Natural History Museum across the road), dramatically illustrating the contemporary revolution in architectural form. Thanks to CAD, new materials and brilliant structural engineers, buildings no longer need to look like boxes, and nature becomes the inspiration.Read more
Design and the Elastic Mind
Museum of Modern Art, New York, February-May 2008
Once, science and design were the same thing. Think of Leonardo da Vinci; think of Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke, founders of the Royal Society. But they drifted apart, as I explain in my catalogue essay for this exhibition. Despite much in common, Charles Eames and Richard Feynman never met, for example. That's too bad. But today, designers and scientists are collaborating once more, producing new ways to visualize our complex world. There's more about the exhibition here on the MOMA website.
Sleeping and Dreaming
Wellcome Collection, London, November 2007-March 2008
Science has frankly struggled to understand sleep. It often seems that great writers have been more perceptive and precise in their description of the states of sleeping and dreaming. My contribution to this exhibition catalogue was to unearth an illustrative series of literary excerpts from Dostoevsky to Christina Rossetti and W.S. Gilbert to Nicholson Baker. But for sheer surrealism, Freud's index of dreams takes some beating. This is a tiny snippet from the Ds:
- dead bodies being burnt
- dinner party, unable to give
- dissection with own torso
- district council, communication from
There's more about the exhibition here.