Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gorilla art at Franklin Park Zoo

Here’s my essay on an exhibit of paintings by gorillas at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. There is much art these days about the nature of art and being an artist, but how often do you get the chance to examine the artist’s paintings behind glass and then study the artist himself behind glass?

The exhibit, which includes seven works by Okie and one by Little Joe, provides an opportunity to ask: What is it that so intrigues us about the growing body of art made by apes, elephants and dogs?

As I discuss in my essay, we seem to be looking for what differentiates us from the rest of life on Earth. We crave some common language that will allow us to bridge the evolutionary gap that separates us from our critter cousins. Maybe animal art holds clues of where people art originated. And, of course, it amuses us as a circus stunt.

“Okie and Little Joe: A Retrospective,” Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Road, Boston, June 24 to Sept. 14, 2007.

At top, Okie paints with Zookeeper Brandi Moores. Other images are Okie’s paintings.


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