Off view

American, b. 1961
Grotto of the Sleeping Bear, 1997/2019
Mixed media installation
42 15/16 x 48 7/16 x 3 13/16 in. (109.1 x 123 x 9.7 cm)
Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York/Los Angeles
Photo by Jeffrey Jenkins
Inside this cave lies a sleeping brown bear surrounded by a collection of leaves, twigs, and farming tools. Dion has often used bears in his installations as a way to think about human beings’ relationship to their environment. Bears are a source of both fascination and fear, and are featured in everything from advertisements for snack foods to logos for environmental organizations. “One idea that is strong in my work is how bears function allegorically in relation to the concept of wildness,” Dion has said. “They are more powerful than us, yet culture can easily subdue and eliminate them. We once had to be protected from them, and now we have to protect them.”