An exhibition, inspired by E.O. Wilson’s Consilience—which urged a return to the ideals of the original Enlightenment, including a bridging of the sciences and humanities—explores how 23 artists are reflecting upon the crisis of biodiversity loss and species extinction. The exhibition is on view at the New York Hall of Science in New York City and there is a reception for the artists on November 8 from 3 to 5 pm.
SCIENCE JUROR STATEMENT BY PAULA EHRLICH
E.O. Wilson has said, “In the early stages of creation of both art and science, everything in the mind is a story.” By letting us see the world in ways we may not have perceived before, art allows us to discover and enhance our collective experience of the beauty and wonder of our biodiverse planet. The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation is dedicated to cultivating awareness and promoting understanding of biodiversity as a key foundation for citizen engagement and inspired care of our planet. The enormity of our race against extinction can only be fully appreciated when we are fully aware of the immensity of life upon which we absolutely depend, and which depends upon us. To this end, this exhibit invites us to see nature in ways we might not have seen it before – not only highlighting nature’s great beauty, but also the complex role and importance of every species within the intricate web of life that supports our lives. By capturing our imagination, this exhibit rekindles a sense of awe about the diversity of life that makes up our world and inspires us to be compassionate stewards of the planet that is our home.
—Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD
President & CEO, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation
The Paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, France are a magnificent record of early man’s portrayal of the biodiversity of his surroundings. Artists have continued this long tradition, finding endless inspiration from the shape, color, pattern, texture, movement, and sounds of our natural world to create art in all expressive media. Taking the example of birds: Leonardo keenly observed and drew the flight pattern of birds in an attempt to invent a flying machine; Alfred Hitchcock used bird sounds as a psychological metaphor in his film, The Birds; Audubon’s self-published opus, Birds of America, proved his dual genius as a naturalist and artist; and today, a growing number of contemporary artists AND scientists are creating art in reaction to the critical issues of biodiversity/extinction.
Today we are learning about the importance of conserving Earth’s biodiversity for more than its innate beauty, capacity to inspire art, and to lift our spirits. Globally, the scientific community recognizes biodiversity as the key indicator of the health of our planet’s ecosystems, which in turn, sustain all life. Art inspired by scientific research is becoming a valuable tool for sharing these ideas with our image-based society.
—Cynthia Pannucci, Founder-Director of Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI)
GALLERY OF WORK FROM THE EXHIBITION
LEARN ABOUT THE CO-JURORS
Elizabeth Corr is the Manager of Art Partnerships at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)—an international nonprofit environmental organization with over 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, NRDC’s lawyers, scientists, and environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. Elizabeth works with artists and architects, whose commitment to the environment dovetails with NRDC’s ongoing program efforts, to heighten public awareness of and interest in the environmental problems facing our communities. In 2014, she created the first-ever Artist-in-Residence program at NRDC. Learn more at www.nrdc.org and follow them on Twitter @NRDC
Paula J. Ehrlich, MP, DVM, PhD, Dip ACVS, is the President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, where she champions biodiversity research to inform conservation efforts, and uses pioneering educational tools and creative media to engage people in the importance of our biological heritage and to encourage a robust response to the extinction crisis. Dr. Ehrlich has more than 25 years of strategic scientific management and research expertise, and diverse academic, non-profit, and corporate leadership experience. She has been on the faculty at several veterinary schools, and has held senior executive roles in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Learn more at www.eowbfdev.wpengine.com and follow them on Twitter @EOWilsonFndtn