New York Hall of Science, Queens. Opens Oct. 11. Adults $11, children and seniors $8.
This art exhibition offers some new ways of looking at that three-pound hunk of jelly in your skull. Some do it with humor: a mock-infographic that shows a brain hinged open to reveal dozens of tiny people scurrying about, and an elegantly staged photograph of a small brain on a dinner plate with serving spoons. Some offer neural self-portraits, like the artist with multiple sclerosis who paints Technicolor versions of her brain scans on silk, and the artist who gives an unsettling depiction of the white “aura” that appears in her field of vision before a migraine headache. Of the 42 works selected by a gallery director and a neuroscientist, most were from artists, “perhaps because entries from scientists tend to be too didactic,” said Cynthia Pannucci, the founder and director of Art & Science Collaborations Inc., who organized the exhibition. Among the most moving, however, were those that simply show the anatomy, such as “Cortical Columns,” a haunting panel by the neuroscientist-turned-painter Greg Dunn, who uses gold and silver powders, ink and dye to render nerve cells in all their branchiness, like saplings waiting for winter.