The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature

James Prosek, Tree of Life (detail), 2016, Acrylic and vinyl paint on sheetrock with mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and Schwartz-Wajahat, New York.



The Nest, an exhibition of art in natureIn the Beitzel and Righter Galleries
March 6 - June 19, 2016

In a provocative display that incorporates contemporary art, relics from the natural world, and items of material culture, The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature, examines the exquisite beauty and profound symbolism of the nest in art and culture. Drawing its inspiration from the extraordinary form of the bird’s nest, the exhibition examines how the fundamental drive to gather, assemble, and create is a function of both nature and the artistic process. The Nest includes a blend of authentic nests, works by eighteen contemporary artists, and a selection of feathered pre-Columbian textiles, offering a rare opportunity to consider the creative impulse from multiple vantage points.

In a diverse range of mediums, the work of the artists in the exhibition spans from direct consideration of birds and their nests to those treating the nest’s symbolic potential. They examine the life of birds and grapple with our changing environment, while exploring the nest as metaphor of home, birth, economy, and the human body. Next to these contemporary works appears a selection of pre-Columbian Peruvian textiles. Adorned with hundreds to tens of thousands of brightly colored feathers, their artistry confirms that birds have served as a source of inspiration for makers since ancient times. Birds’ nests from the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History collection also populate the galleries, a selection from one of the most extensive and significant collections in North America. The affinities in aesthetic language between the birds’ and artists’ creations provoke inquiries into the definition of art as they blur the traditional division between art object and the everyday natural environment.

Artists in the exhibition include Sharon Beals, Sanford Biggers, Dove Bradshaw, Björn Braun, John Burtle, Walton Ford, Shiela Hale, Fiona Hall, Porky Hefer, Nina Katchadourian, Louise Lawler, Judy Pfaff, James Prosek, Hunt Slonem, Kiki Smith, Andreas Sterzing, Paul Villinski, and David Wojnarowicz.

The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature provides an unexpected lens through which to observe the fascinating parallels between human and animal behavior, raising timely questions about the survival of the birds and their habitats in our increasingly fragile ecological world.

The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature
is made possible by support from Victoria and Stephen Morris, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, The Durst Organization, and George Bianco.  The Katonah Museum of Art is supported in part by Arts Westchester with support by the Westchester County Government, The New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Related Events:

Docent Tour: The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature
Tuesday - Sunday, 2:30PM
Free with admission

Imagine It! Day
Friday, June 17, 1-6PM
Free with admission

Pay-What-You-Wish + Extended hours

Friday, June 17, 1-8PM




Past Events:

Gallery Talk: Tour of The Nest, an exhibition of art in nature with artist James Prosek and Associate Curator Elizabeth Rooklidge

Sunday, March 13, 3:30PM
Free with admission

School's Out/ Art's In

Tuesday, March 22 - Friday, March 25
Drop-in, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Participating children: $5 members, $8 non-members. 
Regular museum admission applies for adults

Family Day: Day of the Bird
Sunday, April 17, 12-5PM

Alan Clark
Saturday, April 30, 3PM