Andy Gracie, “The Quest for Drosophila titanus,” 2011

Science at Play: Bioart in Brooklyn
March 23–May 11, 2013
Opening reception: Saturday, March 23, 8 PM
Gallery hours:  Saturdays & Sundays 12–6 PM

Life is restless. Bioartists—the emerging group of practitioners who manipulate living tissues, DNA, and bacteria—must embrace this restlessness. Working in the lab, the artist can’t contain his medium. Even in the Petri dish, fungal spores invade the colonies, or the slime mold overruns maze. Precision gives way to open-ended experiment. The lab is a garden, and the bioartist is the gardener for the new millennium, where breeding advances naturally into gene splicing.

CUT/PASTE/GROW provides a space to ask fundamental new questions about aesthetics and our assumptions about life and death. What, for example, makes a beautiful blueprint for a beautiful form—what makes a beautiful gene?

By cutting and pasting DNA into a being, the organism itself—both in function and behavior—becomes a chimera, a hybrid natural/engineered being stitched from disparate parts, a result of both Darwinian evolution and the will of the artist.

Since antiquity, hybrids were considered abominations. Today, we can view them in any number of ways: Are these chimerae quasi-artworks or quasi-organisms? Is bioart a new approach to society and ecology, a partnership with the microbial life all around us?

Find out more at

Invited artists:

  • Tuur van Balen
  • Nurit Bar-Shai
  • Heather Barnett
  • BCL: Shiho Fukuhara/Georg TremmelBruce Bryan
  • Revital Cohen
  • Tom Deerinck
  • Andy Gracie
  • Karen Ingram
  • Eduardo Kac
  • Edgar Lissel
  • Julia Lohmann
  • Simon Park
  • Nikki Romanello
  • SXSW Create 2013
  • Liam Young


Observatory is an gallery and event space in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Inspired by natural history, morbid anatomy, and the intersection of art and science, Observatory hosts lectures, classes, and exhibitions. Observatory is part of the Proteus Gowanus art complex, located at 543 Union Street (at Nevins). Gallery hours are 3–6 PM, Thursdays–Fridays; 12–6 PM, Saturdays–Sundays.

Genspace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education in molecular biology for both children and adults. Its staff and volunteers work inside and outside of traditional settings, providing a safe, supportive environment for training and mentoring in biotechnology. Genspace also supplies a Biosafety Level 1 lab for biologists, laypeople, and artists to gather and collaborate on biotechnology projects.

Nurit Bar-Shai is a co-founder of Genspace and an interdisciplinary artist who works at the intersection of art, science, and technology. She composes video, live telematic installations and conducts experiments through creative collaborative inquiry. Nurit lectures and exhibits her work worldwide.

Daniel Grushkin is a co-founder of Genspace and a journalist who covers the intersection of science, biotechnology, and culture. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Businessweek, National Geographic Adventure, Popular Science, and Scientific American.

Wythe Marschall writes and teaches about futurism. With artist Ethan Gould, he is the author of Suspicious Anatomy, an illustrated book of fake neuroscience. At Observatory, Wythe has curated art shows and lectures on retrofuturism, technological ecstasy, the neo-grotesque, and the para-academic. Wythe teaches undergraduate literature at Brooklyn College. His stories and essays have appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and elsewhere.

William Myers teaches and writes about the history of architecture, art and design. His book BioDesign: Nature + Science + Creativity was published by The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Thames & Hudson in London in 2012. He has worked for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Hunter College, and Genspace.

3 comments to CUT/PASTE/GROW Show Opening

  • CUT/PASTE/GROW opens Saturday, March 23! : CUT/PASTE/GROW

    [...] We’re excited to announce that CUT/PASTE/GROW has been scheduled to open Saturday, March 23, at 8 PM and remain on view until May 11. Here is the official announcement on the Observatory site. [...]

  • Opening Saturday, March 23! : CUT/PASTE/GROW

    [...] We’re excited to announce that CUT/PASTE/GROW has been scheduled to open Saturday, March 23, at 8 PM and remain on view until May 11. Read the official announcement on the Observatory site. [...]

  • Bioart - Is this Okay? | Arabidopsis thalyana: Thalyana's science blog

    [...] [...]