Published: December 24, 2015
GREENWICH, CONN. — “Carnival of the Animals,” Danish sculptor Bjørn Okholm Skaarup’s first American museum exhibition, will close at the Bruce Museum January 3. The sculpture exhibition presents a contemporary bestiary — or classical book of animals — in bronze. Each of the 20 sculptures on view offers a whimsical story or allegory to decipher, inspired by ancient fables, art history or modern animation.
The title of the exhibition derives from the suite by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), Le carnaval des animaux, which famously translates animal attributes into music. Lions parade to a royal march, kangaroos hop in fifths across the piano keyboard and fossils chip away with xylophone beats.
Just as Saint-Saëns evokes animals in music, Okholm Skaarup interprets them in bronze. His majestic lion, traditional king of the animals, wears the crown and armor of a great monarch in the style of Medici court sculptor Giambologna yet he sits astride a rocking horse, a reference to his fleeting and jovial power. A cheetah rides a scooter to move faster, a giraffe stands on stilts to reach higher and a kangaroo bounces on a pogo stick — a “kængurustylte” in Danish.
The Bruce Museum is at 1 Museum Drive. For information, www.brucemuseum.org or 203-869-0376.
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