Speaking as an artist, I'm not sure if drawing stuffed animals can teach me anything meaningful anymore.
Let's back up. I was back in Boston for a week last month and decided I might as well enjoy the local attractions. I hadn't been to Harvard to draw in ages and I'd heard they had a new exhibit that was a must-see, so I headed over there.
That new exhibit, man. It's called Next of Kin. The HMNH is so *old* that many of its skeletal and taxidermy specimens are from severely endangered or even extinct animals. Artist Christina Seely, working alongside The Canary Project, an organization of ecologically-minded scientist/artists, created an art installation using many of these specimens. Combining sculpture, photography, and music (including the calls of extinct animals), it's a stunning and incredibly moving marriage of science and art. It is indeed, to borrow a phrase, not to be missed. You've got until June to catch it.
Oh yeah, and a far, far more accurate title for it would be "You Will Need A Strong Drink And A Good Long Stare At The Wall After This One."
It managed to haunt my entire visit.
I felt *bad* walking among the taxidermy in a way that's hard to put into words. I drew a lot, as you can see, but I felt bad about it. Even weirdly complacent - these were, after all, living animals that had been killed and stuffed in "lifelike" poses just so people like me could come and study their propped-up pelts. So I really don't know if dead animals have anything left to teach me.
Anyway, on that cheerful note, art!
I got home with a desperate need to see *living* animals. And so a few days later...