The elephant in the room.
Cat got your tongue?
Such is the bond between humans and animals that it has permeated our language, as well as our art. The earliest forms of visual expression ever created included depictions of animals scrawled on cave walls, and that tradition continues today with many contemporary artists centering their practice on the examination of animals and our connection to them. Animals in the Museum will present over 60 works of art drawn primarily from the Figge’s collection, including paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and video works. In addition to exploring themes including animals as symbols, fantastic animals, beasts of burden and animals as pets this exhibition will celebrate the artistry involved in the depiction of wildlife.
Why are artists and humans in general so drawn to animals? Our relationship with animals has changed drastically throughout history. Ancient man lived in close proximity to beasts that he simultaneously feared and worshiped as well as hunted for food. In the not so distant past, animals were an integral part of everyday life as a means of transportation and labor. For most people in the 21st century our closest interaction with animals occurs in our homes in the forms of pets. This trajectory from gods to companions is reflected in the artworks on display, and allows visitors the chance to explore their own relationship to the animals in their lives. Animals in the Museum will be on display from January 26th through April 28th, 2019.
Image credit: Anne Coe. American, b.1949. Suburban Ranchette: Utopian Bliss at the End of the Millennium, 1996. Acrylic on canvas. Museum Purchase: Friends of Art Acquisition Fund, 2004.8