Aimee Rankin: Natural History
November 23 1985 – January 19 1986
From November 23, 1985 to January 19, 1986, as part of the On View program, the New Museum presented an installation piece by Aimee Rankin in the Window on Broadway.
In her four box constructions collectively titled Natural History, Rankin represented a postmodern reading of nature, or natural history, as an accumulation of artifacts. Butterflies, for example, became science-fiction creatures, human bones became architecture, and an artificial sunset the backdrop for a mosaic of coins.
Like dioramas commonly seen in museums (the modern containers of nature and culture; the final resting places of time itself), Rankin’s boxes suggested that nature has become just another simulation, an impossible site experienced not merely from a distance (through a window - a metaphor for history), but as a representation of itself.