Shelf Life – July 10
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Jul 10, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Shelf Life – July 10

Stratford Gazette

The Underwater Museum: the submerged sculptures of Jason Decaires Taylor

By Carlo McCormack and Helen Scales

@SPL: 730.92 Taylo-U

Summertime is a great time to visit museums – the ever changing displays are quite fascinating, and you can be almost certain display spaces are air-conditioned, providing a cool refuge from summer heat.

But if you happen to be in Mexico or Grenada this summer or winter, you can visit a museum of an entirely different kind – it will still keep you cool and the displays are still ever changing, but you will need to bring your own air.

Artist Jason Decaires Taylor has been creating underwater art for almost a decade, art that is meant not only to comment on the world above the ocean, but also to create habitats for the marine life that live in the shallowest parts of our oceans, marine life that is in constant endangerment from us humans.  This book about his underwater sculpture garden just off the coast of Cancun (called MUSA – Museo Subacuatico de Arte), has beautiful, vivid photos of the installations, both before and after corals, algae and crustaceans changed their features to become almost unrecognizable. All the originals began with people willing to sit still in plaster for long stretches of time – all to be immortalized underwater for eternity.

Better yet, culture critic Carlo McCormick has contributed an essay on the art, and marine biologist Helen Scales has contributed an essay on the science about such man-made reefs, which give both an emotional and an objective account of Taylor’s work. So even if your summer travels only take you as far as the nearest aquarium, take a gander at this book before you go, and think about how Taylor’s art will help to keep these species available to us air-breathers for some time to come.

- Robyn Godfrey, librarian

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