Through October 23, 2022, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) shines a light on how birds are interconnected with plant life and what happens when one or both are impacted by environmental changes.
“For the Birds” opened June 11, 2022, as a multidisciplinary showcase showcasing an exhibit of 33 site-specific birdhouses scattered throughout the BBG.
They were created by artists, architects and designers including one provided by the event’s presenting sponsor, Warby Parker. For their birdhouse, the stylish eyewear company offers “Books for Birds,” which flips the notion of birdwatching from birds to humans. Set in BBG’s Bamboo Grove, “Books for Birds” is built with a stack of fictional book titles supporting this theme.
“Our goal in partnering with this interactive exhibit is to support continued education about the importance of preserving our world’s birds,” Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa said of their involvement, in a press release.
Aside from “Books for Birds”, other birdhouse designs in “For The Birds” are said to be inspired by BBG’s resident bird species.
The Blue Heron Triangle, a birdhouse by artists Chen Chen and Kai Williams, is constructed from repurposed plastic cartons and topped with silk flags that replicate plastic bags. It is located in BBG’s Japanese Hills and Ponds Garden and is described as being designed as a fishing platform for the great blue herons that frequent this garden.
Based at the Flatbush Avenue entrance to BBG, “Bug as food as house” is by artist Misha Kahn. It is inspired by the idea of a bird eating an insect and is made of ceramic and natural fibres.
Brooklyn artist Olalekan Jeyifous’ birdhouse “Birdega” is placed inside the BBG’s kindergarten. Jeyifous’ artistic description noted that the birdhouse is a tribute to New York’s “vanishing urban ephemera” resulting from rapid gentrification.
Each birdhouse is paired with a track from “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project”, a set of 20 albums of original recordings inspired by birds and birdsong.
The recordings consist of over 70 poems and 20 original album covers by over 220 musical artists, actors, literary figures and visual artists.
Attendees range from musicians Beck, Elvis Costello, Adam Horovitz, the Beastie Boys and Yo-Yo Ma, to actors Bette Milder, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Keaton, Natasha Lyonne and Wendell Pierce. Artists involved include Brian Calvin, Roz Chast, Chris Johanson and Simone Shuback. Visitors to BBG will find listening areas to hear tracks from “The Birdsong Project”.
The “Birdsong Project” is the brainchild of Randall Poster, the show’s creative director and film and television music supervisor. Randall poster. In a press release, Poster said he came up with the idea for the “Birdsong Project” while working from home in New York City amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“As someone passed and worked on music my whole life, I had my ears open to the music of the birds and was moved by the beauty and variety of their song,” Poster said. “I also learned that bird life was at great risk as habitats were increasingly threatened. And so, inspired by both joy and revelation, the ‘Birdsong Project’ began.
“For the birds” is also to draw attention to scientific studies on the constant decline of bird populations with climate change being a main driver but also the loss or deterioration of their natural habitats. A 2019 study by Science estimates that the bird population in North America has declined by 30% since 1970.
“‘For the Birds’ celebrates and highlights the existential connection between birds and plants, which are entirely interdependent, with art, education and science for audiences of all ages,” said Adrian Benepe, President and CEO of BBG, in the same media announcement.
“For the Birds” also presents an exhibition of works from “Birds of the West Indies” by multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon at the Conservatory Gallery; a Soundbath featuring Alex Somers; and horticultural exhibits related to the theme of birds and plants.
Everything “For the birds” programs are free with general admission, unless otherwise specified as a paid event. For more information visit this website.