Natural History

Mircea Cantor, Trevor Gould, Joshua Jensen-Nagle, Crystal Mowry, Volker Seding

June 13 - September 26, 2010

Guest Curator: Jennifer Rudder

NATURAL HISTORY presents works of contemporary art that revisit the history of the development of museums and zoos, and anthropological displays. Inspired by the theatrical scope of the dioramas and monumental animal displays, each artwork evokes a moment in the complex history of the captivity, collection and display. Trevor Gould's artworks take up the history of colonial pillage of animals through the work and practice of a past generation of artists and curators. Through layers of photographic manipulation, artist Joshua Jensen-Nagle succeeds in finding the life in a taxidermy polar bear, capturing one of the world's largest beasts at a time when the species is threatened by extinction. Crystal Mowry's critical examination of one life implicated in the racism at the base of the anthropological display is crucial to our understanding of that past. Volker Seding's rigorous photographic documentation haunts the exhibition with the abjection that was until recently, the zoo. Mircea Cantor's video confronts us with the separation over time of human from mammal and presents us with the possibility of imagining a renewed coexistence. The exhibition is produced by the University of Toronto.

View the Natural History brochure here.

Image: Volker Seding, "Black Rhinoceros, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, 1985", Chromogenic print mounted on archival board, 1985.