king of the forest

on view JAN 27 – APR 3, 2016
Opening Reception | Saturday, FEB 20, 6 - 9 pm

Panel Discussion and Closing Reception
Saturday, April 2, 1 - 4 PM

Artists: Selin Balci | Krista Caballero | Anthony Cervino | Rebecca Clark | Lisa Crafts | David D’Orio | Joan Danziger | Frank Ekeberg | Talia Greene | Jonathan Monaghan | Lindsay Pichaske | Leslie Shellow | Henrik Sundqvist
Curator: Megan Rook-Koepsel

image: Selin Balci, Territory (detail).

Download the King of the Forest: Adventures in Bioperversity Catalog

If I were King of the Forest…I’d command each thing, be it fish or fowl…As I’d click my heel, all the trees would kneel. And the mountains bow and the bulls kowtow. And the sparrow would take wing – If I – If I – were King!
The Wizard of Oz, 1939

How has human activity and human species-privileging changed the animal kingdom? King of the Forest: Adventures in Bioperversity presents 13 artists whose work examines how consumerist culture, the quest for immortality and control, and a general human self-interest and indifference to other species has led to an uncertain and destructive relationship with the planet and its non-human inhabitants.

Human dominance has pervaded the way we think of ourselves and our relationship to other species. Even the lyrics to the classic Wizard of Oz song, from which the title of this exhibition comes, demonstrates the value held in reigning supreme over the natural world, rather than striking a harmonious relationship. One direct result of our enforced dominance is the endangerment and extinction of increasing numbers of animals, as well as the spreading of invasive species. Bioperversity represents the result of humanity's efforts in dominance: the biology of the world has been perversely distorted.

The attitude of primacy can be seen in behaviors of humans in recent memory: as our technological advances and comforts have grown, so too has our separation from and understanding of the natural world. The changing weather patterns, increase in intensity and frequency of natural disasters, and dwindling of biodiversity has brought us face-to-face with a grim future. Concerns about climate change and the human footprint have become a part of our culture, and are certainly also on the minds of the talented and thoughtful contemporary artists presented in this exhibition.