The Last Pigeon
A group exhibition curated by Andrew Garn
Selected works by Vyahir Golub, Livan Pombo, Luis Piccione,
Paloma Columbia, Piotr Peristeri, Dieter Tauben, and Dan Duif
March 28th - May 11th, 2008
Opening Reception: Friday, March 28th, 6-9pm
Gallery Hours: weekdays by appointment, weekends 1-6 pm
Gallery Contact: A.M. Richard (917) 570-1476
Since 1996, the common pigeon (columba livia) population has been steadily declining. According to the American Audubon Society, between 2002-2008, still-born pigeon death syndrome (SBPDS) has increased ten fold. While New York City councilman Simcha Felder has called for the criminalization of pigeon feeding, their population is decreasing. Targeted by various political agendas, the endangered species could well become but a memory in the collective city experience. The fate of the columba livia, may meet that of the ectopistes migratorius (passenger pigeon) which in the 1850s was the most ubiquitous bird living in the U.S. Commonly, passenger pigeons would darken the skies with dense flocks measuring a mile in width and up to three miles in length. Sadly, in 1913, the last passenger pigeon died in captivity.
The Last Pigeon, an exhibition concerned with the study of this specific bird, brings awareness to the issue of urban wildlife preservation.
Raised in Manhattan, Mr Garn was, from early times, well aware of the plight of the urban pigeon. Occasionally, he would prevent stumblebums from using sling-shots to wound or kill the feathery creatures. Pre-occupied with their rescue, Mr. Garn attempted to hatch abandoned eggs using a desk lamp as an incubator. Today a New York-based artist and photographer, Mr. Garn has invited a select group of artists to conceive a tribute to the much underappreciated columba livia.
Mr. Garn has created a captivating photographic portfolio of pigeon life- from birth to hoary age. To the uninitiated eye, the pigeon portraits reveal a beauty of subtle nature. Distinct personalities, peculiar character traits, odd signs of time and experience are unveiled. Rarely seen are photographs of baby pigeons. A short video montage features a Muybridge-like sequencing and morphing of pigeon types in motion. Standing on a wood platform before a slate grid, the birds slowly move and timidly bop to the sound of Thelonious Monk's Epistrophy. Actual pigeons, for the duration of the exhibition, can be seen living in a reconstructed Brooklyn rooftop diorama. A series of small sculptures conceived in the form of pigeons made of clear glass filled with feathers, are strewn in the main gallery space. One can only wish that these fanciful renderings not become the last flock of lost pigeons.