Monday, September 11, 2006

Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of my favorite places on Earth. At some point I’d like to take a bunch of pictures and create a visual essay about why that is so...But for now, here was a quick trip that Greg Manchess and I took today. (One of the rare times that we were not kicked out at closing time.)

We went to see the “Lizards & Snakes Alive” exhibit. I was surprised how active the animals were. Lots of fun...especially the film of flying tree snakes. The whole idea of flying snakes is just fascinating
and horrifying to me. One draw back of the exhibit was that the museum had a simple video game that let kids play a rattle snake hunting for food. There was a large crowd of kids all jockeying for position to play ending with one child having a C-O-M-P-L-E-T-E meltdown. You’d think this is one place where parents can get their kids away from video games.

This gecko was beautiful and typographically interesting, having formed itself into a question mark. This python is named, I kid you not, Irene.

The museum is full of amazing artwork. Here is one of Charles R. Knight’s drawings. On the right is a detail from Carl Rungius’ background painting for the Alaskan Moose diorama. This painting is a bit controversial amongst museum peeps — some love how expressive it is, others feel that it detracts from the illusion of “being there.” (Tip: Bring binoculars! It’s fascinating to see the paintings close up and see how expressive all the background paintings are. Of course, people do tend to look at you if they’d hate to break it to you, but, “You know it isn’t real, right?”) Click here for a great little animation on basic principles of a painting using Rungius’ work.

Yes, I am part of that publishing cliché that adores cats in all shapes and sizes...and besides, the sculpture that goes into these animals is amazing. And, last but not least, Greg!


Blaze Guard Jeff said...

I LOVE Carl Rungius's work - I live Calgary, about an hour from banff where Carl lived most of his life and had his mountain studio. I always go see his art at the Whyte museum while in Banff, and keep an eye open for exhibits at the Calgary Glenbow museum which has a large collection of his work.

As to museum art - I used to work as illustrator for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. All of the artists loved a more painterly look, but the scientists wanted as 'real' as possible. One way of coping with it was to go home and paint wild and sloppy. - Jeff

Arne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Arne said...

Wow, is that Gregory Manchess? Is he a museum piece? :) Kidding. I'm Dutch, and you might want to tell him he has fans here.

angelfebrero said...

dioramas from spain:

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