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Double Helix as Art

Xavier Cortada desperately needs your DNA — for his show, that is. With the public's help, he plans to create a live DNA strand in a petri dish. “I am working with 400 museum visitors who will leave their DNA as part of the exhibit,” he explains. “I am creating a random sequence of nucleotides generated by participants that will later be analyzed by a molecular biologist as part of the installation.” The show, titled “Sequentia,” features four large canvases depicting adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. They are the nucleotides that compose the four bases of the DNA strand, summarizing “everything that has ever been alive or will ever be alive,” Cortada adds. Also on display is a stack of postcards based on his paintings. The artist invites spectators to shuffle the deck, select one of the images, and attach it sequentially to strings in the form of a helix dangling from the ceiling. “Each participant will leave their thumbprint on the cards as they string these nucleotides along and receive an original piece of work, essentially swapping their DNA for art,” Cortada says. “Sequentia” will be at the Frost Art Museum through January 2. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-348-2890 or visit
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. Starts: Oct. 20. Continues through Jan. 2, 2010


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