Montana State University

MSU President's Fine Arts Series sets a month of events saluting 'Art of Science, Science of Art'

February 15, 2013

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The Montana State University College of Arts and Architecture's President's Fine Arts Series will host a series of events examining the synergy between the arts and the sciences in the "Art of Science-Science of Art," held beginning Feb. 25 and extending into April.

"This year's program demonstrates the collaborative spirit and interdisciplinary effort of many hard working faculty at MSU," said Nancy Cornwell, dean of the College of Art and Architecture. "It speaks eloquently to who Montana State is as a university."

Cornwell said the six week-long series of artistic and cultural events focuses on the intersection of art and science. It will include lectures, exhibits, demonstrations and discussions by some of the greatest minds today working in the humanities and sciences. The events will complement and lead into MSU's Celebrating Einstein event, to be held April 2-6.

"We are proud of the caliber of presenters and the innovative programs that we will present," Cornwell said. "We hope the community joins us in a salute to artistic and scientific innovation."

The Art of Science/Science of Art events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The series is made possible through the support of the College of Arts and Architecture, the MSU Office of the President, Ilse-Mari and Denny Lee, Carol Smith, Dave and Kippy Sands and Elise Donohue.

The series begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, in room 101 in Gaines Hall when Josh DeWeese and Dean Adams, both ceramics professors in the MSU School of Art, speak on "Science + Earth = Art: How to Stretch a Rock." The co-founders of the International Wild Clay Research Project will present a visually beautiful and intriguing presentation about the connections between clay and chemistry, geology, physics, sustainability and culture.

Musicians and scientists from across campus will participate in a panel discussion on "The Science of Sound: Decomposing Music," at 7 p.m. Monday, March 4, in Reynolds Recital Hall. Participants will include Greg Young, director of the School of Music; Rob Maher, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; John Miller, professor of cell biology and neuroscience; and Bill Clinton, a well-known musician who is also instructor in the School of Architecture. The group will discuss the science of sound and musical acoustics through a unique combination of live music performance, signal analysis, and interactive audio-visual exploration involving both the performers and the audience. The President Fine Arts Series traditional "Dessert for the Spirit" will be held after the panel.

The renowned Cuban-born photographer Abelardo Morell, who is breaking new artistic ground with photographs taken with a camera obscura, will speak on "The Art of Light" at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, in room 101 Gaines Hall. Morell's work has appeared in National Geographic magazine and other publications. His lecture will be coordinated with an MSU College of Arts and Architecture collaborative course that will result in the building of a camera obscura, an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen, which will be on display at various locations on campus.

Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and author of "The Physics of Star Trek" and "The Universe from Nothing," will join a panel on "The Science of Space: Building the Future" to be held at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22 in room 101 of Gaines Hall. Krauss, who is a frequent guest on the "Colbert Report," will join David Fortin and Bill Rea, both members of the MSU architecture faculty, in a discussion about the relationships between architecture and science. Fortin is completing a book, "Architecture and Science-Fiction Film: Philip K. Dick and the Spectacle of Home." Rea has been a set designer and art director on numerous feature films, including "Titanic," "True Lies" and "Ali."

Gavin Parkinson, a lecturer in European modernism at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, will share new research on the unexpected connections between quantum mechanics and the pictorial fragmentation in the work of Pablo Picasso at 7 p.m. Monday, March 25, in room 101 of Gaines Hall.

Stephon Alexander, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College as well as a jazz musician, will speak on "The Physics of Jazz" at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 26, in Reynolds Recital Hall. Alexander is a saxophonist and a theoretical physicist specializing in the interface of cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity who, with his interest in jazz, believes music helps him understand physics on a simpler and deeper level.

MSU President Waded Cruzado will moderate a Presidential Panel on the "Art of Science/Science of Art" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, in SUB Ballroom A. The wide-ranging discussion will include an international panel of scientists who explore art and artists who explore science. They include David Kaiser, American physicist, author and historian of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Victoria Vesna, media artist, researcher and professor from UCLA Department of Design as well as Alexander and Parkinson. The Elevators, a jazz group from the MSU School of Music, will play with Alexander following the panel.

"Shout Across Time," a multimedia music performance that will be held in conjunction with the MSU Celebrating Einstein event, will be held at 7 p.m. April 5 and 6 at the Emerson Cultural Center. The performance features dancers, the MSU Symphony, conducted by MSU Symphony Director Tobin Stewart, combined with gravitational wave sounds, and an original film by MSU film professor Dennis Aig, featuring the scientific visualization of black hole collisions and gravitational waves.

Several exhibits are scheduled throughout the series.

"Personal Vision: Science Made Beautiful Through the Eyes of an Artist," the College of Arts and Architecture, School of Film and Photography's annual juried undergraduate photography exhibit that will explore the beauty of science will be on display from March 18-30 in Cheever's Lower Gallery. A public reception will be held from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.

"Music to Look At: The Composition as Visual Art," will be on display March 18-April 30 in the Dean's Gallery, room 217 Cheever. The exhibit will feature the visual scores of compositions by MSU College of Arts and Architecture, School of Music faculty Eric Funk, Gregory Young, Linda Antas and Jason Bolte.

"Black (W)hole," an installation by Sara Mast, artist and MSU art professor, and artist Chris O'Leary, will be on display April 2-6 in the Emerson Cultural Center as part of the Celebrating Einstein celebration. A public reception will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4.

For more information about "Art of Science/Science of Art," go to the President's Fine Arts Series website.


JoDee Palin (406) 994-4406,