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Mark Dion The Octagon Room

  • Exhibition

  • March 23, 2013 - November 29, 2015
  • Galleries

In The Octagon Room, Mark Dion investigates the blurred boundaries between art, society, and history, as well as the homogenized methods of their presentation and consumption.

The Octagon Room takes the appearance of a Brutalist-styled bunker. However, within the installation the viewer is invited to browse through an abandoned office, the contents of which represent the artist’s own labyrinthine history of the past eight years. Dion’s decision to utilize the octagon was inspired by the 19th-century mania for octagonal buildings, popularized by the American phrenologist Orson Squire Fowler, who championed the merits of octagonal homes over rectangular and square structures. Ultimately, octagonal houses never took hold and, instead these eight-sided homes seemed to be the choice of the individualists, standing defiant among their four-sided neighbors.

The imagined provenance of each of the objects in Dion’s arrangement adds up to a staggering sum of experiences. As each speaks of an individual past, collectively they present a complex mosaic, informing our understanding of the overall subject matter and material. A Wunderkammer both autobiographical and sociological, The Octagon Room takes the nation’s relationship with its own people and its neighbors, and the artist’s status and position within this framework as its foundation.

Artist Talk with Mark Dion
Thursday, February 19, 5:30pm
Club B10

Read an interview with Mark Dion about this work in Big Red & Shiny.

The Octagon Room, 2008
Mixed media installation, approx. 20 × 20 feet
Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NY