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DNA from Darwin to Dolly

Art Gallery


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Art Gallery

The artist Carrie Mae Weems created her installation The Jefferson Suite in 1999, several years before the explosion of genetic information that accompanied the sequencing of the human genome. The work, which was recently exhibited in Washington, D.C., is relevant today as yet another opportunity to reflect on the roles of DNA and genetics research in science and society.

DNA Backs, from The Jefferson Suite, 1999. Ink on canvas. Four panels, each 95" x 72".

The installation features photographs on large scrims, including images of Charles Darwin, who wrote The Origin of Species in 1859, and Dolly, the first cloned mammal. The Jefferson Suite refers to the DNA analysis that suggested that Thomas Jefferson had fathered a child with his slave Sally Hemings. Here are several images from the work.

Gibbon and Child.

The First Eugenics Baby.

All images courtesy Carrie Mae Weems and G Fine Art, Washington, D.C.

— Edward R. Winstead


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