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Birdspace: A Post-Audubon Artists' Aviary

May 29 - August 15, 2004

 

Birdspace: A Post-Audubon Artists Aviary is a thematic exhibition dedicated to bird imagery, featuring 70 works by 50 contemporary artists. The show will be on view at the Norton Museum of Art from May 29th through August 15th, 2004. (right: Willie Cole (American, born 1955): Malcolm's Chickens 1, 2002. Matches, brooms, wax, Styrofoam, marbles, 26 by 34 by 20 1/2 inches. Collection of James Sokol, Birmingham, Alabama.)

Birdspace investigates birds and bird culture in contemporary art from the early 1990s to today, revealing how far artists have evolved in their use of bird imagery since the days of John James Audubon, the legendary American bird artist. Artists include Jacqueline Bishop, Ross Bleckner, Walton Ford, Adam Fuss, Roni Horn, Ernesto Pujol, Hunt Slonem, Kiki Smith, Fred Tomaselli, Thomas Woodruff and many others.

Not since Audubon's time have birds occupied such a prominent position in the visual arts. Over the past decade, baby-boomers have embraced bird watching as a favorite pastime, bookstores have lined their shelves with popular ornithological readings, and an increasing number of artists have turned to our fine-feathered friends as sources of inspiration. Birdspace takes a bird's eye look at this phenomenon. Crossing the spectrum from artists who admire birds in the same way as Audubon, to those who hold a complete irreverence for his interests, the exhibition provides insight into the escalating popularity of birds and bird culture among contemporary artists.

Dr. Virginia Heckert, Curator of Photography at the Norton Museum of Art comments, "The Norton is pleased to bring this exhibition to South Florida because of the community's rapport with nature and its love of birds. The exhibition provides an excellent introduction to a wide array of contemporary artists of both national and international acclaim who have selected birds as their source of inspiration. Executed in a variety of media, their works range from poetic to humorous and open our eyes to the importance of birds as symbols in our lives."

Divided into four sections, Birdspace examines a number of recent directions among bird-loving artists. "The Humanity of All Living Things" showcases works that are philosophically aligned with Audubon. For the artists in this group, making art about birds allows them to keep in touch with nature in our media -- and technologically -- dominated world. Many are also concerned with the vulnerability of birds due to our changing ecology. "Mortality, Remembrance, Loss and Transformation" focuses on artists who find spiritual meaning in birds, and link them to our own mortality. (right: Ernesto Pujol (Cuban, born 1957): The Gilded Cage #2, 2001­03. 5 birdcage fragments, 20 chromogenic prints (8 by 10 inches each), 20 drawings of ink on paper (12 by 10 inches each), overall dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist, Galeria Ramis Barquet, New York, and Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans.)

For other artists, especially those who use conceptual approaches, birds provide useful, accessible metaphors for exploring personal or social issues. "Identity and Autobiography" looks at artists who rely upon the symbolic potential of birds in examining issues of identity or sexual orientation. A humorous slant is evident in the art of those who are skilled at "Satirical Gaming," where birds become the pawns and viewers become the players in lighthearted perceptual encounters.

"Birdspace is somewhat of a revelation, in that it reveals how our connections to bird life reinforce our shared humanity," says the exhibition's curator, David S. Rubin of the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. "The artists who use birds as subjects and symbols seem attracted to them because they are microcosms of ourselves who seemingly have greater access then we do to some of the nooks and crannies of our universe. The exhibition is so richly diverse. Some of the work is reflective, some is poetic, some will make you cry, and some will make you laugh out loud. You'll never look at a bird the same way again." (right: Anthony Pessler (American, born 1962): Drop, 2001. Oil on linen, 40 by 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.)

A 104-page exhibition catalog featuring 50 color plates and an essay by David Rubin accompanies the exhibition and is available in soft back from the Norton Museum of Art Store.

A series of entertaining slide lectures, gallery tours and education programs supports the exhibition.

Birdspace: A Post-Audubon Artists Aviary is organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, in cooperation with Pamela Auchincloss / Arts Management. Media support is provided by Palm Beach Illustrated.

 

EXHIBITION CHECKLIST

 

1. Martha Alf (American, born 1930): Baby Boy Jr. Debuts, 2002. Ink jet print, 13 by 19 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Newspace, Los Angeles.
 
2. Martha Alf (American, born 1930): Baby Boy Jr. in Setting Sunlight, 2002. Ink jet print, 13 by 19 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Newspace, Los Angeles.
 
3. Martha Alf (American, born 1930): Taffy Watches Baby Girl and Baby Boy at Baby Boy Jr.'s Debut, 2002. Ink jet print, 13 by 19 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Newspace, Los Angeles.
 
4. D-L Alvarez (American, born 1962): Summer, 1998. Blue pencil and graphite on paper, post card, overall dimension: 31 1/2 by 57 inches. Collection of Robert L. Grosman, New York. Courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York.
 
5. D-L Alvarez (American, born 1962): Eagerness, 1998. Blue pencil and graphite on paper, 12 by 9 inches. Courtesy of Abby Messitte and Derek Eller, New York.
 
6. D-L Alvarez (American, born 1962): Your Image, 1998. Blue pencil and graphite on paper, 12 by 9 inches. Courtesy of Derek Eller Gallery, New York.
 
7. Jacki Apple (American, born 1948): Aviary of the Lost: (3) The Culture of Disappearance #5, 1995/2004. Installation with sound; acrylic paint, pastel pencil, wire mesh, nesting, earth, lights, floor of water fowl feathers knee deep, soundtrack of wings flapping, photographs, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
 
8. Lorna Bieber (American, born 1949): Bird/White Feathers, 2000­01. Gelatin silver print, ed. 2/5, 64 by 49 inches. Courtesy of the artist McKenzie Fine Art, New York.
 
9. Jacqueline Bishop (American, born 1955): Silueta, 2002­03. Dead bird veil over 20 Brazilian newsprint collage drawings entitled Dark Organisms, 86 by 62 inches. Courtesy of Arthur Roger Gallery, New Orleans.
 
10. Ross Bleckner (American, born 1949): Memorial I, 1994. Oil and wax on linen with varnish, 96 by 120 inches. The Broad Art Foundation.
 
11. Kate Breakey (Australian, born 1957): Carpodacus Mexicanus, House Finch, 2000. Gelatin silver print, hand-colored with oils and pencils, 32 by 32 inches. Courtesy of Etherton Gallery, Tucson.
 
12. Colin Chase (American, born 1954): Ornithology Suite, 1999. Steel, brass, wood, straw, CD and player with 13 North American bird sounds, 98 by 37 inches. Courtesy of June Kelly Gallery, New York.
 
13. Les Christensen (American, born 1960): Flight from Servitude, 2001. Stainless steel spoons, wood, 34 by 48 by 30 inches. Collection of Adam and Valerie Marcus, New Orleans.
 
14. Willie Cole (American, born 1955): Malcolm's Chickens 1, 2002. Matches, brooms, wax, Styrofoam, marbles, 26 by 34 by 20 1/2 inches. Collection of James Sokol, Birmingham, Alabama.
 
15. Jeffrey Cook: Song of Silence, 1996. Mixed media, 24 by 14 1/2 by 5 3/4 inches. Collection of Andy Antippas, New Orleans.
16. Petah Coyne (American, born 1953): Untitled #1053, 2001. Mixed media, 21 by 18 by 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie LeLong, New York
 
17. Ann Craven (American): I'm Not Sorry II, 2003. Oil on linen, 60 by 48 inches. Courtesy of Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc., New York.
 
18. Michael Crespo (American, born 1947): The Treasure in the Cave, 2001. Oil on linen, 16 by 20 inches. Courtesy of McMurtrey Gallery, Houston.
 
19. Michael Crespo (American, born 1947): Pharos, 2001. Oil on linen, 9 by 9 inches. Courtesy of David Lusk Gallery, Memphis.
 
20. Michael Crespo (American, born 1947): The Stranger's Apprentice, 2001. Oil on linen, 14 by 16 inches. Courtesy of David Lusk Gallery, Memphis.
 
21. Wim Delvoye (Belgian, born 1965): Birdhouse #5, 1998. Wood, leather, chrome-plated steel, 12 3/4 by 11 3/8 by 7 5/8 inches. Courtesy of Sperone Westwater, New York.
 
22. Wim Delvoye (Belgian, born 1965): Birdhouse #6, 1998. Wood, leather, chrome-plated steel, 12 3/4 by 11 3/8 by 7 5/8 inches. Courtesy of Sperone Westwater, New York.
 
23. Mark Dion (American, born 1961): Costume: Bird Watcher, 1995. Telescope, tripod, folding stool, coat, backpack, books, whistle & flask. All items arranged on plinth: 36 by 180 inches; highest item hung at 60 inches. Courtesy of Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.
 
24. Peter Edlund (born 1959): Homage to James Byrd #2 (after J. J. Audubon), 2001. Oil on canvas, 40 by 28 inches. Collection of Lyle and Bette Sarnevitz, Sudbury, MA.
 
25. Carlee Fernandez (American, born 1973): Blue Parakeets with Branches, 2002. Altered taxidermic animals, branches, 33 by 40 inches. Courtesy of Acuna-Hansen Gallery, Los Angeles.
 
26. Walton Ford (American, born 1960): La Historia Me Absolvera, 1999. Color etching with aquatint and drypoint on Sommerset Satin paper, published by The Blue Heron Press, Inc. (edition of 50, exhibition print 1), 44 by 30 inches. Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.
 
27. Walton Ford (American, born 1960): Compromised, 2002. Color etching with aquatint and drypoint on Sommerset Satin paper, published by The Blue Heron Press, Inc. (edition of 50, exhibition print 2), 44 by 30 inches. Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.
 
28. Adam Fuss (British, born 1961): Untitled, from the series My Ghost, 1999. Unique gelatin silver print, 56 3/8 by 46 1/8 inches. Courtesy of Cheim & Read, New York.
 
29. Laurie Hogin (American, born 1963): Banana Republic, 1999. Oil on board with unique frame, 20 by 22 inches. Courtesy of Littlejohn Contemporary, New York.
 
30. Laurie Hogin (American, born 1963): Indonesian Bird of Paradise, 1999. Oil on board with unique frame, 20 by 22 inches. Courtesy of Littlejohn Contemporary, New York.
 
31. Roni Horn (American, born 1955): Untitled #2, 1999. Iris-printed photographs on Somerset paper, 2 units: 22 by 22 inches each. © 1999 Roni Horn. Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery, New York.
 
32. Nina Katchadourian (American, born 1968): TOO LATE, 2003. C-print, 34 by 42 inches. Courtesy of Debs & Co., New York.
 
33. David Kroll (American, born 1956): Thai Vase, Apples, and Nest, 1999. Oil on linen, 18 by 23 inches. Collection of Barbara and David Kipper, Chicago.
 
34. Lance Letscher (American, born 1962): Do I Love You, 2003. Collage on Masonite, 8 1/8 by 12 5/8 inches. Courtesy of Howard Scott Gallery, New York.
 
35. Lance Letscher (American, born 1962): Yellow Bird, 2002. Collage on Masonite, 16 1/2 by 13 1/8 inches. Collection of Melinda Rezman and Ann Worthing, Chicago.
 
36. Pam Longobardi (American, born 1958): 1614­1914 (A Disappearance of Wings), 1993. 2 slide projectors, dissolve unit, weather balloon, 8 copper bird portraits, 12 mounted coffin parts, dimensions variable; weather balloon diameter: 96 inches; wall hangings overall: 68 by 138 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
37. Enrique Martinez Celaya (Cuban, born 1964): Quiet Night (Recollection) I, 1999. Oil on canvas, 103 by 113 inches. Collection of William and Michelle Griffin, Santa Monica.
 
38. Alan Michelson (American, born 1953): Mespat, 2001. DVD projection, turkey feathers, monofilament, 132 by 168 by 12 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
39. Julia Montilla (Spanish, born 1970): Birds of Paradise, 2003. DVD, continuous loop. Courtesy of the artist.
 
40. Anthony Pessler (American, born 1962): Drift, 2001. Oil on linen, 38 by 38 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
41. Anthony Pessler (American, born 1962): Drop, 2001. Oil on linen, 40 by 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
42. Amy Jean Porter (American, born 1975): Birds of North America Misquote Hip-Hop and Sometimes Pause for Reflection, 2002. Ink and colored pencil on paper, dimensions variable: 321 birds total in 3 sizes (3 by 4 inches, 3 1/2 by 5 inches, and 4 by 6 inches),, overall: 32 by 219 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Debs & Co., New York.
 
43. Ernesto Pujol (Cuban, born 1957): The Gilded Cage #2, 2001­03. 5 birdcage fragments, 20 chromogenic prints (8 by 10 inches each), 20 drawings of ink on paper (12 by 10 inches each), overall dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist, Galeria Ramis Barquet, New York, and Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans.
 
44. Alexis Rockman (American, born 1962): Arms Race, 1999. Oil and acrylic on wood, 40 by 32 inches. Collection of Mr. Sherrill Neff, Marion, PA. Courtesy Gorney Bravin + Lee, New York.
 
45. Michal Rovner (Israeli, born 1957): Mutual Interest II, 1998. C-print, Edition 1/7, 35 by 48 3/8 inches. Courtesy of Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco.
 
46. Liza Ryan (American, born 1965): Untitled (Falling Birds), 2001. Chromogenic print, magnetic backing, 84 by 8 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Griffin Contemporary, Santa Monica, CA.
 
47. Liza Ryan (American, born 1965): Wind Study #6, 1997. Chromogenic prints, 5 panels, 3 3/4 by 5 3/4 by 1 5/8 inches each. Courtesy of Griffin Contemporary, Santa Monica.
 
48. John Salvest (American, born 1955): FLY, 2002. Mounted sparrows, cable, porcelain wire holders, audio CD, overall dimensions of cables: 30 by 231 inches, mounted at 96 inches high. Courtesy of the artist.
 
49. Karoline Schleh (American, born 1967): Motherbird, 2002. Collage with ivory buttons and birth control pills, 24 by 6 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
50. Karoline Schleh (American, born 1967): Bang, bang. Burn, burn, 2003. Collage with matchbook matches and handwriting, 34 1/2 by 10 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
51. Elizabeth Shannon (American, born 1948): Homage to Jacopo de Barbari: Study of the Dead Bird, 1993­96. Stuffed mallard with rubber gloves, fiber, wood, metal, 34 by 24 by 12 inches. Courtesy of Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans.
 
52. Elizabeth Shannon (American, born 1948): Before the Fire: Study of Cohabitation at the Almonaster Tire Dump, 1996­97. Rubber tire, birds, moss, vertivert, wire nest, laser print with glass and backing, 17 by 15 by 8 inches. Courtesy of Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans.
 
53. Susan Silton (American, born 1956): Figure 22, from Aviate, 2000. Chromogenic print, 90 by 19 inches. Courtesy of Angles Gallery, Santa Monica.
 
54. Hunt Slonem (American, born 1951): Toucans, 2000. Oil on canvas, 70 by 70 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans.
 
55. Kiki Smith (American, born Germany, 1954): Three Crows, 1995. Silicon bronze, 3 units, dimensions variable (3 units: 20 by 16 by 4 1/2 inches, 26 by 16 by 8 inches, 15 by 14 by 7 inches). Courtesy of the artist and PaceWildenstein, New York.
 
56. Ben Snead (American, born 1971): Bird Cells, 2000. Oil on linen, 59 by 60 inches. Courtesy of Feature Inc., New York.
 
57. Daniela Steinfeld (German, born 1964): Birdy, 2001. C-print, mounted, 49 by 68 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York.
 
58. Fred Tomaselli (American, born 1956): Goldens #3, 1997. Photo collage, leaves, acrylic, resin on wood, 14 by 11 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan Gallery, New York.
 
59. Fred Tomaselli (American, born 1956): Grackles, Meadowlarks, and Bobolinks, 2003. Collage, 12 1/4 by 14 1/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan Gallery, New York.
 
60. Meyer Vaisman (Venezuelan, born 1960): Untitled Turkey XIV, 1992. Icelandic lambs wool, chicken wire, stuffed turkey and mixed media on wood base, turkey: 28 by 28 by 27, base: 30 by 35 1/2 by 31 inches. The Broad Art Foundation.
 
61. Anne Walsh (American, born 1962): Parrot Suite, 2002. Video, continuous loop. Courtesy of the artist.
 
62. Thomas Woodruff (American, born 1957): Snowman Ostrich, 2002. Tinted charcoal, swarovski crystals and corsage pins on paper, 40 by 29 3/4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and P.P.O.W., New York.
 
63. James Yamada (American, born 1967): Untitled, 2001. Wood, steel, aluminum, stuffed woodpecker, 63 by 106 inches. Courtesy of the artist.
 
64. Andrew Young (American, born 1962): Untitled, c-100, 1999. Collage with hand-painted papers, 31 1/4 by 24 inches. Courtesy of Littlejohn Contemporary, New York.
 
65. Andrew Young (American, born 1962): Untitled, c-219, 2002. Collage with hand-painted papers, 31 by 23 inches. Courtesy of Anne Reed Gallery, Ketchum, ID.
 
66. Monica Zeringue (American, born 1964): Bird Shape I, 2002. Oil on burlap, 16 by 20 inches. Collection of Tommy and Dathel Coleman, New Orleans.
 
67. Monica Zeringue (American, born 1964): Remain, 2002. Oil and doll dress on burlap over wood panel, 25 by 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Søren Christensen, New Orleans


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