Two Cultures: Collections
Pseudidae Pseudis paradoxa (tadpoles)

Tracy Hicks has a long record of successful exhibit installations. Using museum jars and scientific specimens, his recent work has focused on cultural interpretations of environmental and conservation themes. Hicks’ art thus interrogates the practice of collecting and blurs the line between scientific inquiry and artistic expression.


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Marjorie Swann, associate professor of English, and John Simmons, director of the Museum Studies Program and collections manager for the herpetology collection at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, secured a grant from the Museum Loan Network which made possible the receipt of a loan of Asian amphibians from The Field Museum in Chicago.

By creating and displaying molds and casts of these creatures, Hicks explores how scientific specimens become cultural objects when they are collected and preserved. The installation will also include photographs, original field notes, and equipment used to collect specimens in the field.

According to John Simmons of the Natural History Museum, “This project will allow audiences to gain a better understanding of how science and culture interact in processes of collecting.”


A Panel discussion entitled: The Impact of Disciplinary Traditions on Art and Science was held on February 15, 2006 at the Hall Center for the Humanities.

It was moderated by John Simmons and Marjorie Swann.

Participants included Philip Baringer, David Cateforis, Kip Haaheim, Saralyn Reece Hardy, Leonard Krishtalka, Edgar Lehr, and special guest Tracy Hicks.

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