SVA Bio Art Lab with several specimens in shelves

From the Laboratory to the Studio:
Interdisciplinary Practices in Bio Art

School of Visual Arts
Fine Arts Building

335 West 16th St
New York, NY 10011

May 22 – June 16, 2023


From anatomical studies to landscape painting to the biomorphism of surrealism, the biological realm historically provided a significant resource for numerous artists. More recently, Bio Art has become a term referring to intersecting domains of the biological sciences and their incorporation into the visual arts. Of particular importance in Bio Art is to summon awareness of the ways in which advancing biotechnologies alter social, ethical and cultural values in society. This interdisciplinary residency will take place in the SVA Bio Art Laboratory located in the heart of New York City’s Chelsea gallery district.

The SVA Bio Art Lab is a fusion of a 19th-century cabinet of curiosities with a state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory, housing specimen collections, aquariums, a variety of microscopes, and an art and science library. In this residency, students will be introduced to the emerging field of biological arts through hands-on laboratory practices and discussions.

Demonstrations include microscopic imaging, growing 2D and 3D biomaterials, painting with bacteria, culturing organisms and designing micro-ecosystems, working with bioluminescence, bioplastics and molecular gastronomy techniques. Discussion topics will range from bioethics, genetic manipulation, climate change, and sustainability.

Each resident is awarded a private studio space and has access to various sculpture and printing facilities in the department. The residency culminates in a public exhibition. Students may work in any media, including the performing arts. The residency will be led by artist Suzanne Anker, Chair of the BFA Fine Arts Department, and Tarah Rhoda, Bio Art Lab Manager. Faculty and former visiting speakers include artists, scientists and museum professionals such as Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Oron Catts, Thyrza Goodeve and Francois-Joseph Lapointe, among others.

Artwork featured by Yihe (Bella) Huang