Exhibition Dates:

August 6 through December 7, 2024
Louise Hauss and David Brent Miller Audubon Galleries

November 14, 6 pm
Common Grounds with artist Daniel Newman

Creative output can reflect many individuals working alongside one another. Nineteenth-century naturalist John James Audubon often receives sole credit for his celebrated depictions. Yet, many unrecognized laborers contributed in significant ways to the research and production of his work. Selections on view from Audubon’s series The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America originated during the artist’s physical decline prior to his death. Audubon’s collaborator, Maria Martin Bachman, initially developed the “Quadrupeds” project and wrote its scientific descriptions. Audubon’s sons, Victor Gifford and John Woodhouse Audubon, finished the effort, with John Woodhouse providing nearly half of the original 150 drawings.

Questions about collaboration and authorship motivated Florida-born artist Daniel Newman in this iteration of The Jule’s Radical Naturalism series. This exhibition presents a series of paintings produced with several non-human artists, including a horse, bird, sloth, bunny and several dogs known for their artistic endeavors. For each piece, Newman paints a composition himself first before mailing the half-finished canvas to his various animal collaborators located across the country. In turn, handlers provide a selection of paint, brushes and other tools for the animals to use in composing their designs on top of Newman’s.

Though perhaps humorous in this instance, the human-animal bond is well-researched, with much data now compiled about awareness and reasoning. Even Audubon and his team injected personality into their subjects when illustrating the behavioral characteristics of different species. Be it working animals, technology or cooperatives, who (or what) directs and shapes the intended result?

With animal collaborators:

Bonnie
Cody
Enzo
Ivy
Koa
Leonard
Margaux
McKee
Peekaboo
Pockets Warhol
Ralphie Schultz
Wally
Wilhelmina

All images are objects from The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University’s collection unless otherwise noted.

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