MCA Presents Downing Pryor Visiting Lecturer Mark Dion

Contact: Carrie Corbett
Director of College Communications

Jan. 28, 2013

"Library for the Birds of Massachusetts" by Mark Dion“Library for the Birds of Massachusetts” by Mark Dion

MCA Presents Downing Pryor Visiting Lecturer Mark Dion

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis College of Art will present 2014 Downing Pryor Visiting Lecturer Mark Dion in a lecture on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Callicott Auditorium, 1930 Poplar Ave., Overton Park. A special reception will be held just prior to the lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the Rust Hall Main Gallery. The lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

Born in 1961 in New Bedford, Mass., Mark Dion received his BFA and an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School in Connecticut. He also attended the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program.

For more than two decades, Mark Dion has worked in the public realm on a wide range of scales. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between objective scientific methods and subjective influences.

He has received numerous awards including the ninth annual Larry Aldrich Foundation Award, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lucida Art Award. He has had major exhibitions at the Miami Art Museum; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Conn.; the Tate Gallery and the British Museum of Natural History, London.

Some of his most recent large-scale projects include The Amateur Ornithologist Clubhouse in Essen, Germany, The Hanging Garden, a collaboration with the landscape design firm Gross Max in central London, and Den, a massive sculpture of a sleeping bear in Norway.

About the Downing Pryor Visiting Lecturer Series:
The Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturers Series was created to honor the late Downing Pryor and support the mission of Memphis College of Art. Downing Pryor devoted 32 years as a member of MCA’s board of trustees, serving three times as its chairman (1961, 1967 and 1972). Mr. Pryor, born into the automobile business, was heavily involved in Memphis politics, serving as a member of the Shelby County Quarterly Court (now the County Commission) from 1964 to 1968 and the first city council from 1968 to 1972. In 1968, Pryor was the main mediator between the city and striking sanitation workers and, after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he represented the city at Dr. King’s funeral services in Atlanta. He was recognized for his outstanding service as a civic leader, businessman and patron of the arts along with his contributions in the areas of education and race relations.

Downing Pryor saw the arts in a very special light, writing, “Each adventure with art adds depth and breadth to the mind and heart that enable the individual to go on to the next experience with heightened perception and understanding.” Friends and family members endowed the lecture series as an ongoing reminder of what one truly honorable man can accomplish in his lifetime and beyond. Downing Pryor died in January 1990.

The lecture series offers free public programs featuring some of the nation’s most distinguished speakers in the area of the arts. The college welcomes contributions to the endowment fund, which makes this prestigious lecture series possible. To make a gift to this Downing Pryor Distinguished Visiting Lecturers Series, please visit or call 901-272-5115.

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @memphisart.

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