The beginnings and ends of bio art

Since the late 1980s a significant number of artists have begun working with biologically related concepts and materials. Of course, the infusion of biology into the visual arts is not new. For writer and theorist Jack Burnham a shift in visual art took place in the late 1960s, not because of Arthur Danto’s proclamation that art was over, but because the visual arts began to derive substitute methodologies for the creation of artworks: earth works, systems theory and real-time media became fresh working tools. As early as 1969, in Beyond Modern Sculpture, Burnham sees the integration of “men and machines into optimally functioning systems as tantamount to creating synthetic organisms”, a concept which provokes the imagination of artists, designers and scientists of today.

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