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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > July August 2016 > Artistic Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers: An Exhibit

Artistic Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers: An Exhibit

Art and science have a complex relationship. On the positive side, artists can be inspired by what philosopher Wilfrid Sellars calls the scientific “image” of the world, while scientists investigate the artistic experience from the points of view of evolutionary biology and neurobiology. On the negative side, artists may fail to actually grasp the science behind the flashy images or the catchy phrases, while scientists may talk as if art and aesthetics actually reduce solely to elements of Darwinian fitness and patterns of excitation of neurons.

It was therefore with a bit of trepidation that I went to the opening of a new exhibit at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College (part of the City University of New York), titled “Some Provocations from Skeptical Inquirers: Painted Prints, Photographs, and Videos by Ellen K. Levy and Patricia Olynyk.” Before going, I did my homework and read the catalog, penned by Charissa N. Terranova, associate professor of aesthetic studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, that accompanies the exhibit. I wanted to know what I was about to see and asked to comment on.

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Does Astrology Need to Be True? A Thirty-Year Update Does E = mc2 Imply Mysticism? Does the Universe Revolve around Me? A Skeptical Response to Science Denial Skeptical Inquirer’s 2016 Reader Survey Results