March 15, 2016

King of the Forest at the Arlington Arts Center


Between the time I first picked up a postcard about the King of the Forest exhibit at the Arlington Arts Center and my tour of the exhibit, I thought the subtitle was Adventures in Biodiversity. In fact, the subtitle is Adventures in Bioperversity. Biodiversity is short for biological diversity and refers to the variety among biological organisms. Biodiversity is perceived as a good thing. In contrast, the "bioperversity" is not. The artists in the exhibit "explore and imagine what our relationship to animals and to the planet could be in some future, dystopian version of the natural reality, and in some cases what that relationship already is in the present day."

I did not have a planned route through the exhibit. I wandered by myself and with my son. I did not see every work. The photos represent the most compelling of the works that I viewed. You can download the exhibit catalogue here.


Anthony Cervino
Flock II, 2009


Leslie Shellow
Entanglements, 2015


Joan Danziger
(Various beetles, various dates)


David D'Orio and Henrik Sundqvist
Nutrition, 2014


Talia Greene
Whistling Thorn, 2013
Precarious Balance (Swamp Sparrow), 2015
Precarious Balance (California Condor), 2015


This is a still from Oil Spill with Bird, one of four digital videos in Lisa Craft's 2014 film, 4 Natures Mortes.We watched the film several times. It is absolutely fascinating!

Another striking piece that we saw but did not photograph was Lindsay Pichaske's 2010 Aristotle's Foil, a red-headed gorilla made of earthenware, artificial flower petals, and paint. The children at a birthday party thought it was the head of a real, dead gorilla.



It would not have done David D'Orio & Henrik Sundqvist's 2014 Buzz justice to show a photograph. You have to hear it!


We very much liked the interactive Birding the Future installation by Krista Caballero and Frank Ekeberg. The artwork was created in 2015 and has an outdoor component. I will post separately about our experience of this work. Participating in this installation was a great way to conclude our time at the art center.

P.S. Also currently on exhibit until April 3rd is Rachel Schmidt's Daydreams in the Anthropocene.

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