Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Next of Kin" and Harvard Museum of Natural History Studies

Speaking as an artist, I'm not sure if drawing stuffed animals can teach me anything meaningful anymore.

Let's back up.  I was back in Boston for a week last month and decided I might as well enjoy the local attractions.  I hadn't been to Harvard to draw in ages and I'd heard they had a new exhibit that was a must-see, so I headed over there.

That new exhibit, man.  It's called Next of Kin.  The HMNH is so *old* that many of its skeletal and taxidermy specimens are from severely endangered or even extinct animals.  Artist Christina Seely, working alongside The Canary Project, an organization of ecologically-minded scientist/artists, created an art installation using many of these specimens.  Combining sculpture, photography, and music (including the calls of extinct animals), it's a stunning and incredibly moving marriage of science and art.  It is indeed, to borrow a phrase, not to be missed.  You've got until June to catch it. 

Oh yeah, and a far, far more accurate title for it would be "You Will Need A Strong Drink And A Good Long Stare At The Wall After This One."

It managed to haunt my entire visit.

I felt *bad* walking among the taxidermy in a way that's hard to put into words.  I drew a lot, as you can see, but I felt bad about it.  Even weirdly complacent - these were, after all, living animals that had been killed and stuffed in "lifelike" poses just so people like me could come and study their propped-up pelts.  So I really don't know if dead animals have anything left to teach me.

Anyway, on that cheerful note, art!

3.28.17 - Harvard Sketchcrawl

3.28.17 - Harvard Sketchcrawl

3.28.17 - Harvard Sketchcrawl

I got home with a desperate need to see *living* animals.  And so a few days later...

3.30.17 NEAQ Sketches

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