The Multispecies Salon

The Multispecies Salon

Date posted: 2011-04-04 12:07:03

The Multispecies Salon
Art Exhibition to Open in New York City on April 4, 2011!artists

The Multispecies Salon
@ The CUNY Graduate Center
Room 5307, 365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10016

Opening: April 4, 2011, 6-9pm
April gallery hours: Thursdays 12-7pm
Photo ID required for admission
Also open to the public by appointment, please call 212-817-7094

Dr. Eben Kirksey, 212-817-7094, ekirksey at

EMBARGOED FOR: Monday, March 28, 2011

Exploring human entanglements with other creatures, The Multispecies Salon will open at the CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown Manhattan on Monday, April 4, 2011 with a reception from 6 to 9pm.  Prophecies about the singularity, a future moment of biocultural salvation, will be unveiled at the opening reception by performance artist Praba Pilar.

Rather than being a static exhibit, the Multispecies Salon is starting a new lifecycle of growth and decay.  Blurring the boundaries between bioart and ecoart, art practices that "take non-humans seriously," the Salon will showcase original artworks that illustrate human entanglements with plants, microbes, and animals.  We will display art forms that will help us think about living with, and in, multispecies worlds.

New organisms that have been created by humans, or are dependent upon on us for their very survival, will animate the Multispecies Salon. We will also showcase creatures living and dying in industrial runoff, and the life support technologies that help keep endangered organisms alive beyond the reach of deadly pathogens and toxins.  At the opening reception our table of snacks will be spread with offerings from organisms that are not just good to think with (as Levi-Strauss had it), or good to eat (as Marvin Harris countered), but also entities, and agents, that are good to live with (as Donna Haraway maintains).

The Multispecies Salon originated in San Francisco when artists came together in 2008 to  explore the biographical and political lives of parasites, weeds, and laboratory animals. This exhibit is spinning conversations about nature/culture in new directions and spawning novel approaches to anthropology.  Multispecies ethnographers—anthropologists who are studying the creatures living in dying in the shadows of human worlds—have come to regard art as a companion and catalyst practice for thinking through dichotomies like human/non-human and body/environment.

In November 2010 a collective of six people from the East Coast, the West Coast, and the Gulf Coast, brought together a multitude of creative agents for The Multispecies Salon: SWARM in New Orleans.  The swarm is a network with no center to dictate order.  Swarming became the tactic, rather than the theme, of The Multispecies Salon.

More than one hundred artists—hailing from the far reaches of the United States, Europe, and Australia—have animated The Multispecies Salon shows.

The Salon has now come to a repurposed office space at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Rather than being a static exhibit, The Multispecies Salon has started a new lifecycle of growth and decay.  Twelve of the best artworks from previous shows have been brought to New York.  A full list of these participants is available online.

The Multispecies Salon gallery opening will inaugurate the new Mellon Science Studies Committee at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Science Studies is an interdisciplinary field that fosters dialog among humanists and scientists.  Bringing together scholars from a wide range of disciplines, we are cultivating critical friendships across conventional disciplinary divides to interrogate issues of common interest and concern.  On Saturday, April 9th, the Science Studies Committee will be hosting an international symposium called "Cosmopolitics" in association with events in the Multispecies Salon.


At the exhibition opening reception on April 4 (6-9pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307), performance artist Praba Pilar (aka the Reverend of Nano Bio Info Cogno) will explore messianic themes in biotechnology and deliver prophecy about the singularity.

Praba Pilar will stage another performance in the gallery on Saturday, April 9, in conjunction with Cosmopolitics—An International Symposium.  Artists Kathy High, Allison Hunter, Miriam Simun, and Bryan Wilson, and Ryan Burns will also be in attendance (1-5pm, CUNY Graduate Center, 9 Floor Conference Rooms,

Open gallery hours will take place for the month of April on Thursdays, from 12-7pm.  For admission to the gallery dial extension 7094 or 2064 from the CUNY Graduate Center security desk.  For an appointment to see the gallery outside these hours, e-mail ekirksey at

Special events at the Multispecies Salon will continue for the month of April on Wednesday evenings (6-7:30pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307). Internationally renowned anthropologists and intellectuals will give lectures about human relations with other species.

April 13     Paul Kockelman (Columbia University) Poultry Ontology
6-7:30pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307

April 20    Dominic Pettman (New School) Peak Oil, Peak Libido
6-7:30pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307

April 27    Eben Kirksey (CUNY Graduate Center) Ontological Amphibians
6-7:30pm, CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5307

Please visit  for a full description and schedule of The Multispecies Salon events and related activities.

All events are free and open to the public.


Dr. Eben Kirksey, 212-817-7094, ekirksey at

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