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Have Some Art With Your Particle Physics at Fermilab

Photo: Courtesy of Fermilab; Art: Jane Barthès

Batavia —Ever wondered about the artistic possibilities of advanced accelerator technology, dark matter, and colliding neutrinos? No? Well, the people at the Fermilab Art Gallery have. The exhibition space at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has been showing the work of artists with backgrounds in science — or those with practices conceptually linked to science — for nearly 40 years.

One of the most arresting pieces greets you before you’ve even gotten out of your car. Entering the 6,800-acre campus in Batavia, you drive under Broken Symmetry, a three-legged sculpture assembled from parts of the aircraft carrier Princeton, the main recovery ship for the Apollo 10 lunar mission. The sculptor? None other than Fermilab’s founding director, Robert Wilson.

Previous exhibits at the gallery itself have been centered on the sculptural properties of Feynman diagrams (pictures that represent the behavior of subatomic particles), haunting images from the Fermilab-led Dark Energy Survey, and wildly colorful paintings of microorganisms. In March, the gallery rolls out Studio Conversations, which marks something of a departure from strictly science-focused programming. It’s a group show of mixed-media work by Mary Bookwalter, Janice Meister, and Carol Weber, which emerged from the artists’ conversations about the value of collaboration in the act of creation — whether in the subatomic world or beyond.

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