117 of 314 Bird Species, As Urban Murals

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Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon

A couple years ago we linked to a story about urban murals and now, progress:

Where Birds Meet Art . . . After Dark

Greater Sage-Grouse by George Boorujy

Greater Sage-Grouse by George Boorujy
Location: 3920 Broadway, New York, NY 10032

The Audubon Mural Project is a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and Gitler &_____ Gallery to create murals of climate-threatened birds throughout John James Audubon’s old Harlem‐based neighborhood in New York City.

Pinyon Jay by Mary Lacy

Pinyon Jay by Mary Lacy
Location: 3668 Broadway, New York, NY 10032

The project is inspired by the legacy of the great American bird artist and pioneering ornithologist and is energized by Audubon’s groundbreaking report “Survival By Degrees.” Audubon’s scientists have found that climate change will threaten at least half of all North American birds with extinction, and that no bird will escape the impacts of climate-change-related hazards like increased wildfire and sea-level rise. The project commissions artists to paint murals to call attention to this problem, and it has been widely covered in the media, including The New York Times.

On the website where Audubon features these murals you can click through to see the individual stories of each, including lots of interesting species information:

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Clockwise from top left: Black-and-white Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, John James Audubon, depiction of Russell Lee’s 1941 photo of Chicago, Magnolia Warbler, James Lancaster’s hand, and Tree Swallow. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon

Endangered Harlem by Gaia

Location: 1883, 1885, and 1887 Amsterdam, New York, NY 10032 Continue reading

If You Happen To Be In Georgia…

Blue Jays. Left: John James Audubon; Right: Athos Menaboni

Blue Jays. Left: John James Audubon; Right: Athos Menaboni

It should come as no surprise to visitors to this site that a significant amount of our attention is taken up by birds. Their importance is manifold, not just environmentally, but artistically. We’re also fans of the Liberal Arts, so we’re particularly excited to see these interests come together this month at two Liberal Arts colleges in Georgia.

One does not have to be a birder or an art aficionado to have heard of John James Audubon. Much of the world knows the name due to the Audubon Society, but fewer have heard of Athos Menaboni, who Times Magazine once called “Audubon’s heir”, despite the fact that the two men never met. Continue reading

Early Audubon

Box 8. L'avocette de Buffon. Near Nantes, France, [1805 or 1806]. 1 drawing : pastel, graphite, and ink on paper ; 47 x 31 cm. Depicts the Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) standing on the ground with no background details. Unsigned. Audubon no. 117.

Box 8. L’avocette de Buffon. Near Nantes, France, [1805 or 1806]. 1 drawing : pastel, graphite, and ink on paper ; 47 x 31 cm. Depicts the Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) standing on the ground with no background details. Unsigned. Audubon no. 117.

Thanks to correspondent Kate Kondayen for this item, possibly of interest to our Cornell Lab of Ornithology friends, in the Harvard Gazette this week:

Growing up in the late 18th century, John James Audubon regularly skipped school and headed to the fields, spending his early years developing the techniques that led to his career as a famed naturalist who made pioneering contributions to art and science. Continue reading

If You Happen To Be In Norwich

An egg mistakenly cracked by Charles Darwin is among the items in The Wonder of Birds exhibit. Photograph: Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

An egg mistakenly cracked by Charles Darwin is among the items in The Wonder of Birds exhibit. Photograph: Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Thanks to the Guardian for pointing us to an exhibition that will be of interest to ornithologically-inclined readers of this blog:

It is an unassuming object, a smallish, strangely glossy brown egg, and it is broken because of the carelessness of the last person you would expect – Charles Darwin.

“He squashed it into too small a box and it cracked, unfortunately,” said curator Francesca Vanke, explaining the state of the spotted tinamou egg going on display at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

The object is the only known surviving egg from Darwin’s HMS Beagle voyage during the 1830s. Probably drawn to its glossy sheen, Darwin signed it C. Darwin and brought it back to Britain after collecting it in Uruguay. Continue reading

If You Happen To Be in New York City

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From today until May 19 the New-York Historical Society will begin hosting a multi-phased exhibition of Audubon‘s early, exuberant period as an illustrator-naturalist:

Audubon’s Aviary: Part I of the Complete Flock

To celebrate the sesquicentennial of the New-York Historical Society’s purchase of the Audubon avian watercolors and the the release of the lavishly illustrated book Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for “The Birds of America”―published by the New-York Historical Society and Skira/Rizzoli and winner of a 2013 New York Book Show Award Continue reading

Nature’s Art

Our relationship with the natural world has shifted considerably along with our technological advances.

The drawings in Lascaux morphed into Egypt’s hieroglyphs; into Greece’s elaborately painted frescos and urns; into the Renaissance’s Nature morte. 

Photo by Milo Inman

But the more precise the depiction became, the more likely it was that the animal in question had to meet its demise in order to be immortalized. Continue reading