February 17, 2013

Dem bones, dem bones, gonna swing around at ICA exhibit

From staff reports

PORTLAND — If you haven't already, be sure to take time to check out the exhibition "Dan DenDanto and Frank DenDanto: BUMP," on view through April 7 at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art.

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The DenDantos’ “BUMP” exhibit is made of suspended whale bones that are set in motion by intrigued visitors.

Courtesy photos

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The DenDantos’ “BUMP” exhibit is made of suspended whale bones.

And with school vacation week at hand, be sure to bring your kids. This is very much a kid-friendly show.

The installation includes bones from three different whales that most likely died from collisions with ship propellers. The bones are suspended at eye level and are accessible for hands-on touching. Once touched, they are set in motion, and the shadows start dancing within the enclosure.

The DenDanto brothers work in tandem. Dan DenDanto is a whale articulation specialist from the College of the Atlantic. His brother Frank is a project manager and designer.

"In my time here, I don't think we've ever had anything in the galleries that could be considered offensive to kids. But I think sometimes people hear 'contemporary art' and they worry," said ICA director Daniel Fuller. "But this installation is really good for kids. They are mesmerized by the bones, especially when they are set in motion. And I think it's really cool that they have the ability to touch them. You don't see that very often in natural history museums."

Dan DenDanto's research focuses on life-history data, including photographic identification, genetic and sighting information, to investigate interactions between whales in the Gulf of Maine. He directs the North Atlantic Fin Whale Catalogue, and has been station manager at the EMC Blair Marine Research Station at Mount Desert Rock since 1998.

The ICA at MECA, 522 Congress St., is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, with extended hours to 7 p.m. Thursday. Admission is free. Visit meca.edu or call 699-5040 for more information.


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