design approved 2004; fabrication completed 2006
American, born 1961
Neukom Vivarium is a hybrid work of sculpture, architecture, environmental education and horticulture that connects art and science. Sited at the corner of Elliott Avenue and Broad Street, it features a sixty-foot-long "nurse log" in an eighty-foot-long custom-designed greenhouse. Set on a slab under the glass roof of the greenhouse, the log has been removed from the forest ecosystem and now inhabits an art system. Its ongoing decay and renewal represent nature as a complex system of cycles and processes. Visitors observe life forms within the log using magnifying glasses supplied in a cabinet designed by the artist. Illustrations of potential log inhabitants-bacteria, fungi, lichen, plants, and insects-decorate blue and white tiles that function as a field guide, assisting visitors' identification of "specimens." Neukom Vivarium is the artist's first permanent public art work in the United States.
Mixed media installation, Greenhouse structure length: 80 ft. (24.38 m), Gift of Sally and William Neukom, American Express Company, Seattle Garden Club, Mark Torrance Foundation and Committee of 33, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2007.1, © Mark Dion
Provenance: Commissioned from the artist by Seattle Art Museum (funds from donors), 2003-2007