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ArtLab Kick off

Posted by on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 in Blog.

ArtLab Spotlight

ArtLab kick’s off the semester questioning the boundaries of art and science with Lavieri

It’s a common misconception that art and science are vastly different, but a new workshop at Vanderbilt, called ArtLab, is challenging this idea. The Wond’ry along with the Curb Center are supporting ArtLab that bring together artists and scientists to create original pieces of work within the art and science intersection. The goal of ArtLab is to explore the boundaries of art and science through seminars and project-based exploration. Work produced during the workshop will be on display during a final exhibition March 1st, 2018 along with a forum featuring artist Daniel Kohn (

To kick off the ArtLab, Robert Lavieri discussed his process within art and science. Dr. Lavieri graduated with a doctoral degree in Pharmacology in 2014 and is currently a Project Manager at Vanderbilt’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR). Over the past 14 plus years, Dr. Lavieri has explored creating visual art based on macromolecular structures (protein, DNA, etc.). He discussed the scientific process as primarily iterative, which he views as similar yet distinct from his artistic process. He says, “I value art, aesthetics and excellence in all aspects of life.  To me, there is just as much art in playing pool at a high level or in how Valentino Rossi rides a motorcycle as there is in a photograph, a painting or a sculpture”. Lavieri’s work moves beyond his own self-interests, attempting to make biological structures that can’t be seen with the naked eye engaging and approachable to non-scientists.

“I find these… projects that join two seemingly different (maybe even opposite) things into a beautiful, powerful, amazing harmony to be incredible human achievements.  I think there is a harmony to be played between art and science that is vastly underexplored and that is why I am exploring it.” – Robert Lavieri, Ph.D.

One key element that Lavieri emphasized to participants was knowing why you are doing something. He says. “there must be some kind of rationale for what you are doing and understanding that reason will help guide your work”. He also emphasized that perspective is a key component for inspiration within science and art. “You want to be close [to the subject], but not in it”, said Lavieri. “This allows the artist to understand the meaning of the science, but also allows the artist to be able to see beyond that to new possibilities”.

Lavieri’s current exhibition, “Vanderbilt’s Nobel Laureates: A Visual Tribute to Discovery and Innovation”, is currently on display on the 2nd floor of the Wond’ry. He created this exhibit to showcase and honor the discoveries of Vanderbilt’s six Nobel Laureates.

For more information please visit his website

By Kendra H Oliver. Ph.D.

Visiting Lecture at The Wond’ry

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, VUMC

ArtLab Creator