Drawing primarily from SBMA's permanent collection and supplemented by
loans from area collections, this exhibition explores a diverse range of
artistic representations of the cosmos roughly coinciding with the
'Space Age' of the last sixty years.
By definition, the observable universe comprises all matter
that can be seen or captured with current technologies. As vast and
all-encompassing as that may seem, it still presumes a specific
perspective from which all else is viewed and conceptualized—one
afforded by the particular viewpoint of being on earth. Our unbridgeable
physical distance from other cosmic entities, including the infinite
reaches of other galaxies, has forced artists to look to observational
sciences like astronomy for inspiration and employ experimental methods
to conceptualize the vastness of outer space. In astronomy, there are
multiple methods used to visualize celestial objects. Similarly,
artists’ perceptions of the universe vary widely, inspired by a variety
of cosmological models.
Drawing primarily from SBMA’s permanent collection and supplemented by loans from area collections, The Observable Universe
explores a diverse range of artistic representations of the cosmos
roughly coinciding with the ‘Space Age’ of the last sixty years. From
early fascinations with space travel to philosophical questions of
humankind’s place within the larger universe, the artwork featured in
this exhibition reflects an enduring captivation with outer space and
the mesmerizing imagery that the limitless cosmos inspires.
The Observable Universe: Visualizing the Cosmos in Art is curated by Michelle West, Departmental Curatorial Assistant.