Help me decorate my research group lab!
February 2, 2010 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Help me decorate my research group lab!

The research group I lead is about to move into new lab/office, and I'd like to buy them some artwork to liven up a pretty dull workspace. We work at the intersection of biology and computer science, but I think the obvious "neuron on a chip" posters from the likes of Science Photos would quickly look dated. I'd like some ideas on abstract artists whose work (a) might be suitable for such an environment, and (b) is readily available in print form. People whose work I admire include Eduardo Chillida and Mark Rothko. Although I won't actually be working in there, I am responsible for the space, so I would like a certain degree of say in what's put up there (I have canvassed opinion within the group as to what they'd like, without any strong opinions emerging).
posted by gene_machine to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Apologies for the inadvertent pun in the final sentence...
posted by gene_machine at 4:14 PM on February 2, 2010

but I think the obvious "neuron on a chip" posters from the likes of Science Photos would quickly look dated.

You could go with super old and way outdated ones from, like, the '60s.
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2010

Maybe you can get your PI to buy his or her DNA as an artwork to hang in the lab.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:34 PM on February 2, 2010

This does not answer your quesions as asked but I have to put in my $0.02 (looks like that's about £ 0.0125009 for our OP).

Having been a laboratory technician for much of my life I've been in research labs with various posters and the like for decoration. By far the most memorable (and the one lab decoration loved by all) was a large white board on which we wrote "lab quotes". They were, of course, usually things said tongue in cheek, double entendres or accidentally punny/funny things that came out of someone's mouth. This particular lab was known for being phallocentric so I'll admit that many of the quotes were rather dirty. When necessary we wrote down the quotes with proper attributions so we could wipe off the board. At the end of the year we (OK, I) would put each quote on a page with clipart or the like for fun and we would bind them together. We would make a few copies to keep in the lab and extra special copies for each graduating member of the lab (grad or undergrad) that had one of their best quotes on the cover of their copy.

Again, my apolgies for not truly answering your question, but the labwench recommends a white board for quotes in every lab!
posted by labwench at 5:05 PM on February 2, 2010

Carol never wore her safety glasses poster.

Flinn still gives them out to teachers- grad students count! put it in your lab
posted by Large Marge at 6:03 PM on February 2, 2010

Things on a wall just turn into things on a wall that you space out on after a while... although having some fun patterny things to space out on is always nice, like gigantic fractal pictures or some sort of intricate rug pattern. What would really be great is if you could get some prints from the winners of the various microscopy contests they have nowadays.
As your lab matures you may have posters from various conferences lying around, and those are always handy to have up... provided the pictures are pretty and there are no flagrant typographical errors.

But many labs have plants and fishtanks and other things that a slightly more dynamic to goggle at than art on the wall. I would hazard that there are some zebrafish labs around that you could cadge some spare fishes from. There is, of course, the question of maintenance, but the diversion factor should be worth the effort.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:03 PM on February 2, 2010

If the workspace is a conference room and you can put a flatscreen on the wall for presentations, you could have the flatscreen connected to a computer that is running a screensaver that in turn cycles through different artworks when the staff aren't giving presentations.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:23 PM on February 2, 2010

If you're going to do the "never wore safety glasses" poster, get the Jordi LaForge version. It comes across as less condescending when you know that if you get PBS in your eyes, you'd just wash it out with more PBS.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:00 PM on February 2, 2010

Thanks for the answers so far. I am the PI, and they probably don't want my DNA looming over them...
posted by gene_machine at 11:51 PM on February 2, 2010

And yes, we already have a whiteboard.
posted by gene_machine at 11:51 PM on February 2, 2010

There is a lot of lovely & affordable art at 20x200. You might enjoy Chad Hagen's nonsensical infographic series.
posted by judith at 12:08 AM on February 3, 2010

Posters from ThinkGeek for humor.
But otherwise, I'd totally go with Rothko. Or Kandinsky.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:05 AM on February 3, 2010

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