Josh Mogerman, 312-651-7909
CHICAGO (August 11, 2014) - Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will present the work of Chicago artist Jenny Kendler at EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall from September 18-21. Kendler was chosen to be NRDC’s founding Artist-in-Residence this year for her work exploring intersections between human culture, perceptions of the natural world, and declining biodiversity. Her work follows a line of prominent artists that have been standouts at previous iterations of EXPO CHICAGO including Gordon Matta-Clark, Maya Lin, and Vaughn Bell.
“It’s an honor to represent NRDC at EXPO CHICAGO. Having the opportunity to create a project of such large scope is pushing me to think differently about scale, interactivity and public engagement — and is blazing a new trail for my artistic practice,” said Kendler.
Kendler’s immersive installation, Tell it to the Birds, will be on display at NRDC’s Special Exhibitions booth. Conceived as an imaginative attempt to bridge the gap between human and animal minds, participants are invited to enter a darkened, dwelling-like dome to make a confession to the natural world. Special audio-processing software “translates" their words into birdsong, heard both inside and outside the structure -- yet only the speaker knows the meaning of their song. The exhibit walls surrounding the dome are covered in lichen-camouflage wallpaper and adorned with delicate sculptures of birds, which Kendler creates by altering and 'rewilding' vintage porcelain figurines. These intimate, yet uncanny sculptural works stand in for real-life bird species, threatened or endangered by environmental hazards like habitat loss, energy projects and climate change. Viewers are invited to spend time in the exhibit and revisit repeatedly throughout the course of the fair, as no one experience in the structure will be the same.
“The loss of global biodiversity can be both overwhelming and, ironically, hidden from most people’s everyday experience. That is why collaborations with artists, like the one we have underway with Jenny, are so important to an advocacy group like NRDC,” said NRDC Land and Wildlife Program Director Andrew Wetzler. “Jenny’s keen eye and unique perspective help bring the plight of endangered animals’ issues into an approachable and engaging space. We are thrilled to see that in an important public art environment like EXPO.”
Tony Karman, President and Director of EXPO CHICAGO remarked, “NRDC brings something very unique to EXPO – thoughtful, stimulating installations that engage the public on important social issues.”
On Saturday, September 20th at 1:30pm, Wetzler and Kendler will join together for a special talk to discuss the exhibition. The event is open to the public and will take place at NRDC’s booth, #109, near the main entrance to Festival Hall.