The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art visitors will explore the meaning of wildlife art within the context of contemporary art. Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art, considers the diverse ways contemporary artists use animal imagery to address humanity’s interconnectedness with the natural world.
Comprised of works exclusively from the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s permanent collection, this exhibition offers a wide range of works in a variety of media divided into four thematic sections: Tradition, Politics, Science, and Aesthetics. These realms act as overlapping chapters, investigating the ways we use animal imagery to tackle human concerns.
“The Museum is delighted to present this series of work in a new, thought-provoking way. I hope that visitors consider these particular themes in other works of art to explore our interconnectedness with wildlife,” says Dr. Tammi Hanawalt, Curator of Art at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
The title of this exhibition is a play on Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection from his pivotal writing, On the Origin of Species (1859). Darwin’s ideas contributed much to the development of wildlife art in the late 1800s, as artists began to represent animals in natural habitats, enacting natural behaviors. The artists in this exhibit represent another stage in the evolution of animal art: choosing to represent animals in alternative, unnatural spaces—spaces more often directly linked to civilization than to wilderness.
“Enthusiasts of the museum’s wildlife art will love how this family-friendly exhibition explores new ways of understanding animals and the spaces they inhabit,” says The James Museum Curator of Art Emily Kapes.
Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art will be on view at The James Museum from June 10-September 17, 2023. The special exhibition is included with museum admission. Tickets are available now at jamesmuseum.org.
About The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art:
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art provides experiences that inspire human connection and transformation through art depicting the peoples, landscapes, and history of the American West, and wildlife of the world. More than 400 premiere works of art including sculpture, paintings and jewelry are on display in the museum’s 26,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum engages the community through programs and educational opportunities, for all ages, that bring our history to life and amplify voices that are not often at the forefront of mainstream Western art. When The James s Museum opened in April 2018 it became one of the newest additions to St. Petersburg’s thriving arts community.
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