Saturday, October 1, 2016

Notebaert Nature Museum a great place for art

Canada warbler
I was pleased to discover the photographs of Art Fox at the Notebaert Nature Museum. Lusciously printed full color photographs depicted birds far larger than life-size. The birds were beautiful. They also were dead.

Baltimore oriole
Dark-eyed junco
Fox collected the dead birds from sidewalks around Chicago's skyscrapers. His poignant story is recounted on wall panels:

"Each spring and fall, in the safety of darkness, migratory birds journey for thousands of miles. Many travel astounding distances between Northern Canada and South America. They follow routes called flyways. The Mississippi Flyway follows our waterways and passes right over Chicago. Sadly, every year, in one square mile of downtown Chicago, thousands strike our lighted shiny buildings and die. Across North America billions die."

Installation view
Yellow-shafted flicker
The exhibit, entitled Broken Journey, was just one of several that are currently on view at the Notebaert. While I had been to this lovely gem of a museum in Chicago's Lincoln Park to see art exhibits on previous occasions, I was surprised at how many I found this time. It seemed like every time I turned a corner I found another art display.

I had come to the Notebaert on the recommendation of someone who had seen a particular art exhibit, one that featured chocolate. Unfortunately, I was too late for the chocolate. 

The exhibit had changed. Going up in its place was a series of woodcut prints, also of birds, by Catherine Game.

Her "Red-tailed Hawk" appealed to me in particular for its powerful composition and unusual perspective.

Photographer David Mayhew specializes in chasing extreme weather conditions and his photographs demonstrate the dramatic nature of his pursuits (above and below.)

Fields of Glory
Yet another photographer rounds out the list of current exhibitors at Notebaert. David Shea hails from New York.

Shea's work, called Plume, is decidedly more political than the others. He "traces the journey of coal from mines in West Virginia to power plants in southeastern Ohio." According to the wall text he intends to "record the impact of the power plants on the environment and the people living nearby."

Bill Jones Camping on the Ohio
While you're there to see all the interesting artworks, be sure to also check out the museum's other displays and collections. These include the ever-popular butterflies:

Some dead.

And some still fluttering around.

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