Astronomic!

An exhibit running through Dec. 30 at Krannert’s Intermedia Gallery titled Astronomic! highlights the history of imagining and imaging the Universe from the 15th to the 21st Centuries in a variety of media. Hank Kaczmarski, Director of the Beckman Institute's Illinois Simulator Laboratory, is curator for the exhibit.

From representations of nature invisible to the human eye to the unimaginable expanses of space, back-to-back exhibits at the Krannert Art Museum have given visitors visionary views of the Earth and the stars from molecular to galactic scale.

The fist exhibit, titled Imag(in)ing Life:“Nature in her genius had imitated art focused on the natural world of Earth through images of computer simulations of molecular scale biological processes to an image of the first x-ray. The current exhibit, running through Dec. 30 at Krannert’s Intermedia Gallery, is titled Astronomic! and highlights the history of imagining and imaging the Universe from the 15th to the 21st Centuries in a variety of media.

The exhibit is sponsored by Krannert Art Museum’s Intermedia gallery, in collaboration with the Beckman Institute. Guest curator is Hank Kaczmarski, Director of Beckman’s Illinois Simulator Laboratory.

Kaczmarksi chose the words of the Roman poet Ovid to introduce both exhibits, including this from Metamorphoses about the seemingly innate human desire to get closer to the stars, even if only though their eyes: And though all animals fix their gaze upon the earth, he gave to man an uplifted face and bade him stand erect and turn his eyes to heaven

Astronomic! includes a half-a-millennium old work, the 1493 Liber Chronicarum, an astonishingly accurate 1944 painting of Saturn observed from one of its moons, and the sun in both modern sculpture and image form. Visitors can also take galactic "rides” at Astronomic! –  through the universe in a domed screen displaying space tours courtesy of the Microsoft Research Worldwide Telescope, and via the 3-D immersive virtual reality CANVAS environment showing our own Milky Way and 30,000 other galaxies.

For a virtual tour of Astronomic! click here.

To view the works at Astronomic! click here

This article is part of the Winter 2011 Synergy Issue, a publication of the Communications Office of the Beckman Institute.