Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dead or Alive

Simen Johan, Untitled #150, 2009, feathers, cocoons, sparrows, insects, foliage, taxidermy, cement, rock, wood, 36 x 36 x 36 in. Image courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

"Dead or Alive," now on display at the Museum of Arts and Design, is a pretty incredible exhibition. Just take a look at the above image of Simen Johan's Untitled #150 and you can pretty much tell that this show is a bit unusual. Anyway, my Gallery Crawl review is up, and if you're in NYC between now and October 24th, I would highly recommend checking out "Dead or Alive" at the Museum of Arts and Design:

Growing up in a house on a man-made lake in suburban South Florida provided me with more opportunities to explore nature than one might imagine. There were tadpoles to be collected, snapping turtles and water snakes to be fished out of the pool, ducks and geese to be fed, and urban legends to be told of alligators finding their way through the neighborhood canals and into someone’s backyard. There are two specific memories, moreover, that are particularly clear to me, both involving insects. The first incident occurred during a short period of time when I was fascinated with feathers. I badly wanted to be able to collect the duck feathers that could be found around the backyard, but was warned against it because of the very real possibility that they carried lice, and was instead consoled with unnaturally-colored craft store feathers that I nonetheless thought were beautiful. The second memory is an even more pronounced one, involving my mom’s bug collection, which she began for an entomology class, and included a massive horned beetle that terrified me. She would often keep specimens in the freezer, so there was a good chance that at any moment, there would be a dead bug in a jar just waiting to be discovered. These two memories immediately came to mind upon viewing Dead or Alive,” now on display at the Museum of Arts and Design, an exhibit that attempts to encompass the variety of the natural world, evoking a wide array of reactions along the way.

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