Beyond Man Caves

Taxidermy has come a long way from the days of stuffed deer heads and fish on 19th-century wood-burnished library walls.  Which is precisely the point behind a new exhibit at the David Winton Bell Gallery located on the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island.

Kate Clark, Licking the Plate, 2014. Kudu hide and horns, foam, clay, thread, pins, rubber eyes, wood, plaster, paint, and painted backdrop, 10’ x 10’ x 4’. Lent by the artist

No longer delegated to dioramas in natural history museums, taxidermy is an art form now featured in contemporary art museums around the world. In Dead Animals, or the curious occurrence of taxidermy in contemporary art, which also includes a symposium on taxidermy, 18 artists provide their unique take on this changing art form.

Thomas Grunfeld, Misfit (Penguin/Peacock), 2005. Taxidermy, 23 5/8 x 9 7/8 x 11 7/8. Collection Jan Peter Kern, Germany. Photo: Lothar Schnepf, Cologne. © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Featured artists include Kate Clark, whose work is the focus of a National Geographic video that debuted this summer; Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan; New Bedford, Massachusetts, native Mark Dion; Nicholas Galanin; German artist Thomas Grunfeld, known for a series called Misfits that features sculptures made from taxidermied animals;Damien Hirst; Karen Knorr; French artist Annette Messager; British artists Polly Morganand Angela Singer; Deborah Sengi; Bryndis Snaebjornsdottir in collaboration with Mark Wilson; Richard Barnes; Jules Greenberg; Sarah Cusimano Miles; Richard Ross; and Hiroshi Sugimoto. In addition to sculptures, the exhibit includes photography.

Polly Morgan Gannet, 2014. Taxidermy gannet, cremated bird remains 50 1/2 x 38 1/2 x 1. Lent by the artist

Snæbjörnsdóttir & Wilson, Somerlyton from nanoq: flat out and bluesome, 2001–2005. Archival pigment print, 24 5/8” x 24 5/8”. Collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Meg and Earl Tarble.

Mark Dion, Concrete Jungle (Mammalia), 1993. Mixed media, including taxidermy cat, opossum, squirrel and found objects, 53 x 139 x 54 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

All photos courtesy David Winton Bell Gallery
Kyle BrownBeyond Man Caves