Starting this month, the Saint Louis Art Museum will present Art+Science, a series of lectures, gallery talks, films and other events exploring the how science and technology shape creativity and the way humans respond to art.

The diverse programs are not tied to any specific exhibition, but several events will complement “Thomas Struth: Nature & Politics,” an upcoming exhibition of new body of work by the celebrated German photographer.


Art+Science kicks off this month with a free lecture presented by art historian Henry John Drewal at 7 pm on Friday, Oct. 13 in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium. Using examples of Yoruba arts from West Africa, Drewal proposes the vital role of the senses as the source of cognition. He explores this with an approach he developed called sensiotics—the study of the senses and bodily knowledge in the creation and reception of arts. Support for this lecture is provided in part by Jim Harris in honor of Tom Alexander.

Also in October, scholars from the Missouri Botanical Garden will share their expertise in a free gallery talk relating to works on view in the exhibition “Cross-Pollination: Flowers in 18th-Century European Textiles and Porcelain.” The garden’s Jim Solomon, Susie Cobbledick, and Douglas Holland will deliver the gallery talk on Oct. 19 at 11 am and again at 6 pm on Oct. 20.


“Art+Science” continues throughout November with a free daily tour of the collection exploring the theme “Nature in Design.” The tours leave from the museum’s Sculpture Hall at 10:30 am on Tuesday through Friday and at 1:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. American Sign Language interpretation is offered on the Nov. 19 tour.

A highlight of the program series is “Conversation with the Artist: Thomas Struth” at 2 pm on Nov. 5 in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium. Struth will be joined on stage by Eric Lutz, the museum’s associate curator of prints, drawings and photographs; Talia Dan-Cohen, an assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis; and James Beacham, a researcher from the ATLAS Experiment at Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider, a particle collider that has been described as the largest machine in the world. The panelists will bring different perspectives on technology to bear on the work, engaging with broader issues raised at the intersection of art, science, and culture. Tickets for the event are $20.

“Thomas Struth in Context” is a three-part class that takes an in-depth look at the photographer’s work. The class will investigate the sites of technology featured in “Thomas Struth: Nature & Politics” and—through the perspective of three scholars—place the photographer’s recent work within a broader historical and artistic context. The class will meet from 10:30 am to noon on Nov. 15, Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. The class costs $50.

Brittany Luberda, a research assistant in the museum’s department of decorative arts and design, will continue the discussion of expertly illustrated flora on display in the “Cross-Pollination” exhibition in free gallery talks at 11 am on Nov. 16 and again at 6 pm on Nov. 17.


In December, the museum welcomes Nobel-winning neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel, who will deliver the Dorismae Friedman Lecture. Kandel’s lecture—titled “Reductionism in Art and Brain Science”—will examine ways neuroscience influences our perception of art. The free lecture begins at 2 pm on Dec. 8 in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium.

The editor of the standard textbook in neuro science, Kandel reached a broad audience with his 2006 book “In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind” and, more recently, through the “Charlie Rose Brain Series” on PBS. Kandel has published two books on the intersection of art and science, “The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present” and “Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures.”


Media critic Lutz Koepnick will discuss the intriguing relationship between humans and technology as depicted through film in a lecture at 7 pm on Jan. 12. Koepnick, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of German, Cinema and Media Arts at Vanderbilt University, has selected three films exploring this theme that will be shown later that weekend—“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” at 11 am and “Blade Runner” at 2 pm Saturday, Jan. 13; and the silent classic “Metropolis” with live musical accompaniment at 2 pm on Sunday, Jan. 14.

Admission to Koepnick’s lecture in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium is $5, as are the screenings of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and “Blade Runner.” The screening of “Metropolis” is $15

All events in the museum’s Farrell Auditorium, including free events, are ticketed. Tickets can be obtained in person at the museum, or through MetroTix, which charges a service charge. Same-day tickets, if available, can be obtained only at the museum. Art Museum members qualify for discounted tickets at all programs with admission charges. M

Via Press Release