Q&A with Patricia Olynyk

One of the first U.S. artists to hold an academic appointment in a scientific unit, Patricia Olynyk has collaborated with particle physicists and biologists; investigated anatomical models and medical devices; and displayed at the National Academy of Sciences. We sat down to discuss Washington University in St. Louis’ new Art|Sci Initiative and Fellows Program, which she launched earlier this spring.

Washington People: Patricia Olynyk

Scaphocephalus. The word refers to a condition in which the shape of the skull is markedly long and narrow. At the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, the word is tattooed onto a 19th-century exemplar, neat cursive script fading into aged bone. Over the past several years, Patricia Olynyk, director of the Graduate School of Art, has both detailed and interrogated the Mutter exhibits through a series of large lightbox photographs.