We've moved! The Art in Science has a new home at taiscience.com

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Molecular wallpaper

I am too spring a chicken to remember the original Time-Life Science books but having made a trip to the British Library to check them out for myself I now consider myself up-to-scratch. The Time-Life series was a series of hardbound books published in the 60s on 26 areas of natural science intended for the lay-reader and would fit in fairly comfortably on today's popular science shelves in Waterstones (and also on my own library shelves. When I have a library. When I'm big).
Dan Funderburgh's recent series of sci-art wallpapers were inspired by these iconic Time-life books, a collection he calls a "repudiation of the fabricated schism between art and decoration". Amen Funderburgh, we too repudiate that schism.

The retro palette from the series compliments the printed sci-art designs and images, making for a beautiful collection of wallpapers, any of which I would happily hang in my own living room.
Though they are all pretty, I am particularly fond of the design in the next picture, reminscent of a sketchbook doodle penned in a particularly dull biomolecular science class.
"The work is a recognition of the art of knowledge and of the poetry of things we do not and can not know". Funderburgh
The collection is showing at Vallery in Barcelona and since it's a bit of a trek for us Londoners, you can see the photos from the opening of the exhibit on the Vallery website.

All images courtesy of Dan Funderburgh. See more on Flickr.


  1. very pretty! certainly a talking piece if they are up on your wall!!

  2. I'm with you on the choice of the last one. New Scientist has had some very similar cover art recently. I'm thinking of modifying some as tapestries. That one above is very Arts and Crafts. On a similar decorative but strange detail theme, Grayson Perry has a scarf in the Tate with embryos. Off to follow up your links above.

  3. ...you may like wallpaper and fabrics by 'Timorous Beasties' - they have an entomology range. I like their strange toile (not science related)

  4. Sorry for the delayed reply Sleepwalker. Just checked out Timorous Beasties and it's very interesting. I will be doing a fabric art post in the next couple of weeks so thanks very much for the tips! You say you are thinking of modifying some as tapestries. What is it you do?

  5. I just do needlepoint as a hobby but I've reached the point where I am ready to have a go at designing something myself. I'm feeling very inspired by Phoebe Anna Traquair but I also fancy doing something a bit different and I like these traditional at a distance but surprising in close-up patterns. I used to work in science communication and volunteered to source sci-art for an exhibition space at the Bioscience building, Centre for Life, Newcastle. I've been lecturing and presenting workshops as well as doing admin at science festivals since I was 16 and eventually coordinated the Newcastle science festival but now I am a stay-at-home Mum. Still very interested in the subjects though. Love your blog, I'm finding out about lots of newer sci-art here.