Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber, ‘Angler Fish’, 2009, ClampArt

For Unnatural History, the artist painstakingly constructs tiny dioramas of rooms in imaginary natural history museums, and then photographs them in black and white. The final platinum palladium prints are hilarious scenarios picturing madcap, behind-the-scene possibilities, which highlight the curious oddity of our historic need to amass, conserve, and display elements of the natural world. Nix’s photographs reference and bring to mind other contemporary artists inspired by the natural history museum and the often bizarre and awkward artifice inherent in the scientific presentation of the animal kingdom.

Series: Unnatural History

Signature: Signed and numbered, verso

About Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber

In her darkly fanciful photographs, Lori Nix refracts our world in urban and rural scenes largely absent of humans, and threatened by manmade disasters or the forces of nature. As she explains: “I create photographs that depict our failing future and the demise of humanity, though I temper it with subtle humor.” Working in series, and with an 8-by-10 camera and film, Nix begins by crafting painstakingly detailed dioramas. She shoots only what she builds, based on her surroundings and inspired by the Hudson River School, current events, science fiction, and 1970s “disaster flicks.” In “Accidentally Kansas” (1998-2000), her first series, she recreated the rural Midwest in microcosm, showing its communities ravaged by ice storms and tornadoes, menaced by modern technology. In her most recent project, The City (2005-11), Nix presents visions of a decaying New York overtaken by nature.

American, b. 1969