Noted Neuroscientist, UM Dean to Speak on How Brain ‘Sees’ Art

February 12, 2015

MISSOULA – Christopher Comer, dean of University of Montana’s College of Humanities and Sciences and professor of biology and neuroscience, will present a talk for the Montana Museum of Art & Culture on how the human brain interprets visual art. 

His presentation “A View of Art Through Your Brain takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center’s Montana Theatre. 

Comer’s research focuses on sensory-motor integration, or how the brain receives and interprets signals and translates them into behaviors or movement. This presentation on visual art is an extension of an interdisciplinary program he leads in Ireland, during the summer titled “Brain, Mind and the Literary Imagination.” 

Comer earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, was a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University, and a faculty member of the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also served for two years at the National Science Foundation as director of the Behavioral Neuroscience Program. He has taught principally in the areas of cellular neuroscience and animal behavior.  

This is the second in a series of exciting programs centered on the exhibition “Art of the State: Celebrating 120 Years of the MMAC Permanent Collection” on display through May 23, 2015 in the Paxson and Meloy galleries of the PAR/TV Center. The exhibition and a first-ever handbook of the collection celebrate the 120th anniversary of the MMAC Permanent Collection. The collection now boasts nearly 11,000 objects.

A full schedule of other programs planned throughout the exhibition can be found online at

The Montana Museum of Art & Culture is committed to making its Permanent Collection not only an important resource for UM but also for the people of the state and region. 

MMAC’s academic year gallery hours are noon-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The museum is open to the public with a suggested $5 donation. For more information call 406-243-2019 or visit

Contact: Barbara Koostra, director, Montana Museum of Art & Culture, 406-243-2019,; Brandon Reintjes, MMAC curator of art,