Hudson River Museum

Yonkers, New York


Photo: Quesada/Burke


Animal Artifice On View At The Hudson River Museum

October 8, 1999 Through January 9, 2000


Contemporary artists portray animals, symbolic of nature, as real and unreal in Animal Artifice, an exhibition on view at The Hudson River Museum from Oct. 8, 1999 through Jan. 9, 2000. (right: Karl Grimes (b. 1955), Stuffed Histories, Chromogenic print, 19 x 19 inches, Courtesy of Nikolai FIne Art, New York)

Animal Artifice features paintings, photographs, sculpture and dioramas of animals in varying poses and situations by contemporary artists Gregory Crewsdon, Karl Grimes, Alexis Rockman, Kiki Smith, Fred Tomaselli, Tom Uttech and William Wegman. These artists reproduce animal imagery for its metaphoric value, playing upon the viewer's sentimentality, memory and experience.

None of the images -- even the photographs -- were created outdoors in nature. They all were carefully orchestrated by the artists in their studios, and many of the creatures portrayed are not even alive.

"This exhibition forces the viewer to consider what happens when things that look real aren't real at all," said Hudson River Museum Curator of Exhibitions, Ellen Keiter. "Animal Artifice engages viewers with startling new encounters of the 'natural' world by portraying animals, which already awaken certain memories and sentiments. In these works, reality has been manipulated, forcing the viewer to do a 'double take' of the artwork presented." Keiter added.

One example of such manipulation is Stuffed Histories, in which Karl Grimes uses unusual angles to photograph animals in dioramas from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. "The animals appear alive and stare accusingly at us, as if our presence has disrupted their private world. Yet the scenes are completely fake." Keiter said.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Hudson River Museum.

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This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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