Mark Dion: A Library for the Birds - interior design Blogs

Mark Dion: A Library for the Birds

A library created for birds who don't seem to care at all.

Artist, environmentalist, and obsessive organizer-of-everything, Mark Dion has constructed a ?Library for the Birds of New York? at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery… and the birds themselves could care less.
The Library for the Birds of New York, 2016
A single white oak tree acts as a bookshelf and temporary habitat for 2 species of birds: Canaries, and Zebra Finches (the brown ones are male, the white ones are female).
The Library for the Birds of New York (detail) 2016
The Library for the Birds of New York (detail) 2016
The 22 birds nest, perch, and poop on hundreds of books ranging in topics from bird identification, navigation, and predators. They do not however, read any of them. And I think that?s the point. There is a human need to investigate, categorize, transcribe, and too often kill/capture nature, that all seems uninteresting, if not completely pointless, to the ?nature? itself.
The Library for the Birds of New York (detail) 2016
Having only seen pigeons in my last 11 years living here, I wondered IF these birds were “real” New Yorkers (very “New Yorker” of me).  It turns out that both species are transplants from somewhere else, and yet these particular birds are current residents – on loan, and carefully monitored/nurtured by bird handlers daily. In that choice, there seems to be a clear commentary on captivity and domestication but perhaps also a nod to New Yorkers themselves, where like most residents, Dion wasn?t born but currently calls home.  It doesn’t hurt that they both make beautiful music, adding to the pleasure of sharing the space with them. The Library for the Birds of New York (detail) 2016
Upstairs there are 5 additional bird-free sculptures that give deeper insight into Dion?s environmental concerns and apparent addiction to picking up and organizing just about EVERYTHING.
An Archaeology of Disorder, 2016
The eclectic and bizarre display case, ?An Archaeology of Disorder? (above), displays objects of ?psychiatric affliction?. The effect is doubled by Mark?s own seemingly obsessive behavior in assembling it.
Brontosaurus, 2016
For ?Brontosaurus?, Dion has sculpted his childhood understanding (aka: cartoonishly incorrect) of a dinosaur while revealing cleaning supplies in its base. Though humorous in its blunt fakery (particularly if this is ever installed in an actual museum), it also darkly hints at the plastics and chemicals that may contribute to our own extinction.
Cabinet of Marine Debris, 2014
?Cabinet of Marine Debris? is exactly that. Garbage collected off the Alaskan coastline is ordered with such perfection and harmony that it reaches a discomforting balance between beauty and tragedy.
Installation view, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, 2016
My favorite by far however is ?Memory Box?, a shed packed with hundreds of small boxes, containers, and tins ? each filled with old trinkets, toys, debris, or dried...
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