Monday, December 3, 2007

Richard Barnes



When I was in Italy this summer, I think one of the most interesting experiences was going to La Specola, which is Florence's slightly decrepit natural history museum. The museum is filled with rooms and rooms of glass display cases with dusty old taxidermied animals. For the most part, little or no context is provided for the display of the animals, they are simply lined up next to each other on shelves. The whole thing was interesting on a few levels. One thought I had was about how much museum design has changed over the years, and how we now expect to find context for our exhibits. But even when context is provided, the museum is at its core a somewhat false experience. Exhibits may make the pretense at being inclusive or objective, but really, they have been filtered and constructed to a high degree.

Which brings us to the photographer I'm posting about here. With his Animal Logic series, Richard Barnes highlights these falsities through showing museum exhibits in a state of construction. His work also brings up issues of preservation and restoration. On a larger scale, I think that Animal Logic can be taken as a comment on the construction of our perception of reality.

And Alec Soth thinks he's pretty cool too.

A while ago, Monica posted on another artist working with taxidermy, Maurizio Catttelan. I think that there are also stylistic connections between Richard Barnes and the last two artists I posted about.

2 comments:

by Cade Overton said...

his Murmur series is also pretty sweet, and Alec Soth also thinks it's alright.

Greg Thielker said...

See also the museum photographs from Sugimoto. I agree- a high degree of artificiality, except that we go there to experience it. Zoos are like this too- styrofoam rocks and plastic trees. Is this depressing or curious?