Invisibility: Powers & Perils

September 14, 2024 - February 22, 2025

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Getty's PST ART: Art & Science Collide and curated by Yael Lipschutz.

Invisibility: Powers & Perils highlights the work of artists, scientists and activists doing ground-breaking and urgent work on rendering visible the people, histories and planetary conditions that have been erased within the cultural mainstream, restoring the power of privacy and invisibility to those who have been denied it, and helping to make legible the limits and character of our own conception of the invisible and its all-too urgent eco-political ramifications.

While the condition of invisibility—and its counterpart, hyper-visibility—has long played an important role in science, literature and the arts, it has more recently become the locus of some of the most pressing struggles of our time: issues of humanitarian and environmental justice. Marginalized, vulnerable populations—women, religious minorities, the unhoused, BIPOC communities—have long borne the effects of both invisibility and hyper-visibility—and increasingly so in the digital age. Such groups have been rendered invisible in countless respects vis a vis the dominant culture while at the same time being made hyper-visible in other respects, through racial profiling, surveillance and house-lessness.

This politic of the invisible also characterizes the most pressing global struggle of our time: the tragic destruction of our environment caused by human activity. Although we have begun to acknowledge the reality and consequences of climate change, the complex and often hidden nature of its causes, along with its incremental and difficult-to-see impacts (such as species and habitat extinction, sea-level rise, and desertification), remains a constant challenge.

Such invisibility demands that we both recognize and attempt to think beyond our current conceptual limits. It is also what science encounters when it confronts fundamentally inscrutable phenomena such as black holes. Once grasped as a challenge to anthropocentrism, i.e an all-too human-centered worldview, invisibility can teach us to discover in our planet’s diverse lifeworld a multiplicity of exquisite visibilities—such as those of bumblebees, mycelium, birds—that reveal the myriad blind spots of the human sensorium.


Participating Artists: Kate Crawford, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ralph Ellison, Sarah Friend, Adam Harvey, Lena Herzog, Nene Humphrey, Vladen Joler,  Susanne Kreiman, Juergen Mayer, Richard Mosse, Operator (Ania Catherine & Deja Ti) Katie Patterson, Gordon Parks, Sondra Perry, Afroditi Pissara, Sarah Rosalena, Ix Shells, Tavares Strachan, H.G. Wells.
 

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Southern California’s landmark arts event, PST ART, returns in September 2024, presenting more than 60 exhibitions from organizations across the region exploring the intersections of art and science, both past and present. PST ART is presented by Getty. For more information about PST ART: Art & Science Collide, please visit pst.art