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Who can claim knowledge of the human heart?
Can poetry, art, and medicine each contribute to our understanding of this historically and biologically complex organ? Inspired by astonishing advances in biomedical engineering, this cross-disciplinary conversation contemplates the possibility of a “future heart” distinct from anything we’ve known before. Artist Dario Robleto joins Doris Taylor, director of regenerative medicine research at The Texas Heart Institute Center for Cardiovascular Care, and Adrian Matejka, poet and editor of Poetry magazine, to speculate on possibilities for the “future heart” across disciplines, and why the literal, poetic, and philosophical heartbeat continues to inspire.
Dario Robleto was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1972 and received his BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1997. He lives and works in Houston, TX. The artist has had numerous solo exhibitions since 1997, most recently at the Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS (2021); the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (2019); the McNay Museum, San Antonio, TX (2018); Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2014); the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014); the New Orleans Museum of Art (2012); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2011). His work has been profiled in numerous publications and media including Radiolab, Krista Tippet's On Being, and the New York Times.
Dr. Doris Taylor has imagined changing the world for people with disease since she lost her father to cancer when she was 6 – in her words, so that “no one else ever had to feel that loss.” Then her family moved to Mississippi, and her mom pointed out how ordinary people were doing extraordinary things to change the world for the better. Watching her single mom stand up for justice for everyone, compounded by bullying of her twin brother even by teachers because he had cerebral palsy, primed her to spend her life speaking up and speaking out to make a difference in the world.
Adrian Matejka was born in Germany as part of a military family. He grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
He is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. His third collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
The Block acknowledges with gratitude its partnership with Northwestern University’s Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, whose leadership support has made possible this exhibition, the associated publication, and the Artist-at-Large residency of Dario Robleto (2018-2023).