Armory Week 2015 News

Don’t Kill the Birds: Brandon Ballengée’s Environmentalist Call to Action

Detail from Brandon Ballengée's "The Frameworks of Absence," 2006–present.

Detail from Brandon Ballengée’s “The Frameworks of Absence,” 2006–present.


The woodpeckers, sheep, and butterflies you love are dying, which is why the altered lithographs in Brandon Ballengée’s “The Frameworks of Absence,” on view at the Ronald Feldman Fine Arts booth in the Armory Show, feel so dour.

Ballengée wears three hats: he’s an artist, biologist, and environmental activist, so his work often gets political and scientific. Here, he looks at the Sixth Great Extinction, a continuing wave of animals dying off. (The dodo bird is one of the animals that has become extinct in this wave, also known as the Holocene.) “The Frameworks of Absence” is an intense environmentalist call to action.

Set against a maroon background, Ballengée’s prints cut the swooping birds out of John James Audobon’s lithographs, creating silhouettes that are both beautiful and sad. The cut-outs have then been burned and placed in vials labelled “RIP” with the name of each species that has been killed off.

If you miss the 100 species he cuts out of the lithographs, so does Ballengée.

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