Published: March 6, 2007
The Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery presents two new exhibits, “John James Audubon: The Birds of America, Prints from the Collection of the Illinois State Museum,” and “While All the Tribes of Birds Sang,” on view March 12⁁ugust 24. A public reception will be on Friday, March 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
The Birds of America, Audubon’s lifelong work, is considered a masterpiece of early American art. The vibrant, life-size images of birds depicted in natural settings were a major departure from the stiff, formal images found in natural history illustration of his day. Audubon’s aspiration to see his 435 watercolors published as a print edition was ambitious; no other naturalist had attempted to reproduce illustrations on such a large scale, nor with such exacting detail.
More than 30 prints from the two major Nineteenth Century editions of The Birds of America, with commentary on the life of John Audubon, and a history of the production of these prints will be offered.
Also on view are important Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century volumes of American ornithology, including Cates-by, Wilson and Gould, that offer a comparison of Audubon’s contemporaries. Bird mounts from the museum’s ornithology collection round out this exhibition.
In conjunction with the Audubon exhibition, “While All the Tribes of Birds Sang,” includes bird-related art and artifacts that provide a broader visual context of the relationships to the avian world. Included in this exhibition are artifacts from the anthropology and decorative arts’ collection and artwork from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as loans by contemporary Chicago artists.
The material ranges from prehistoric bird effigy pipes from Illinois to contemporary, often humorous portraits of bird-headed figures.
Contemporary artists included in the exhibition are Katherine Ace, Margot Bergman, Chris Berti, Mark Crisanti, Ruth Duckworth, Terry Evans, Jonathan Flew, George Klauba, Blanca Lopez, Gina Litherland, Audrey Niffenegger, Michael Pajon, Eleanor Spiess-Ferris and Ann Wiens.
The ISM Chicago Gallery is on the second floor of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 West Randolph Street.
For more information, call 312-814-5322.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm