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(The Four Nucleotides:) Cytosine, 2010 Acrylic On Canvas 60 × 54 Inches © Xavier Cortada

10975 SW 17th Street
Miami, FL 33199
October 13th, 2010 - January 2nd, 2011
Opening: October 13th, 2010 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Other (outside main areas)
Tuesday- Saturday: 10am-5pm Sunday: noon - 5 pm
Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.


Xavier Cortada's solo exhibit at the Frost Art Museum explores the sequence of events that make up life on the planet from the molecular to the monumental. The title of the exhibit also references a series of actions Cortada will set in motion to create of a unique strand of DNA. The artist will work with a molecular biologist to synthesize an actual DNA strand made from a sequence generated by museum visitors using Cortada’s art. In The Four Nucleotides, the artist creates large scale "portraits” of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine and Thymine-- the four bases of a DNA strand that summarize all we are, were and will be. In Genetic Sequence, the artist invites museum visitors to randomly select a post card depicting one of Cortada's four nucleotide oil paintings and attach it sequentially on strings hanging in the form of a helix from the exhibit gallery's ceiling.  In stringing the nucleotides along, they develop a DNA strand as a participatory installation.  Two weeks into the exhibit, the artist will engage in a series of LabARTory Sessions with Dr. Kalai Mathee, FIU Department of Molecular Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Founding Chair. In her lab, Cortada will determine if the random sequence being generated by the participatory art project exists anywhere in the human genome.  During these performative sessions, Cortada will use the sequence to create a live DNA strand, insert (clone) it into a vector (Plasmid) and propagate it in bacteria on a Petri dish. The presence of the specific DNA strand will also be analyzed using agarose gel electrophoresis, sequenced and analyzed against other existing DNA sequences.  As they become available, the results will be exhibited in the museum alongside the the petri dish and a microfuge tube filled with the amplified DNA molecule.