Thursday, March 1, 2012

Artistic Pursuits

"The Grant Museum of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London. It houses around 67,000 specimens, covering the whole Animal Kingdom. Founded in 1828 as a teaching collection, the Museum is packed full of skeletons, mounted animals and specimens preserved in fluid;..."(UCL) to add to the collection, the Museum has packed a section of their showroom with paintings created by animals for a limited amount of time in the exhibit "Art by Animals." 

The exhibit questions the cognitive abilities of primates by suggesting that some animals may indeed create art. The focus of the exhibit is on the actual paintings created by apes and elephants;

(Created by Nong Bank, an elephant in Samutprakarn Zoo, Thailand, 2010)

“Placing their handiwork alongside animal specimens and historical documentation [the exposition] explore[s] why some animal creations are considered valuable and [artistic], while others are dismissed as meaningless.”(UCL)

"Co-curator Mike Tuck said: 'We believe the exhibition at the Grant Museum to be the first to exhibit multiple species’ paintings and to attempt to take a broad view of the phenomenon.'
Since the mid-50s, zoos have used art and painting as a leisure activity for animals, even selling the pieces to raise funds.' While individual elephants are trained to always paint the same thing, art produced by apes is a lot more creative and is almost undistinguishable [sic] from abstract art by humans that use similar techniques.'...

 (Created by Joseph, a Sumatran Orangutan living at Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania)

(Created by Samantha, a Western lowland gorilla from Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania, 2011)  

(Created by Sumatran Orangutan Baka, from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado (right), 
and Bakhari, a chimp from St Louis Zoo (left))

'Ape art is often compared to that of two- or three-year-old children in the "scribble stage",' he added. Co-curator Will Tuck added: 'Although it is fairly clear that any notion of art by animals is essentially anthropomorphic, it starts to raise very interesting questions about the nature of human art.' Images of monkeys painting date back to at least the 17th century in European art, but it was not until the 1950s that the animal paintings themselves became important.Their rise in popularity coincided with the abstract expressionist movement in art, which started to look closely at the act of making, and what it reveals about an artist’s subconscious. Within this context, the art of animals - particularly primates - took on a radically different meaning..." (Reynolds, February 28, 2012)  

Watch The Video
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More on Art & Animals
Guido Daniele, an Italian artist, received his training in sculpting from Brera School of Arts. However, he is known internationally for his painting abilities, which are exemplified in his “Handimals”- interpretations of animals through the use of human hands (below are a few of my favorite).  

Click here, to see more of  Daniele's Handimals 


  1. Very interesting, i loved the one with the hands!
    My Fashion Bug

  2. This was very interesting to read,I never knew that elephants used their trunks to paint.I learned a lot from this post. And the pictures were amazing.Thanks Sis for making me read this.

  3. Wauw that last pictures are so great!

    you have a really nice blog girl!


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