Biocreativity on the Road: Biology + Art in San Antonio, Texas

I had a great time in San Antonio this weekend and discovered some really fun biocreativity on display.

fish sculpture
One of Donald Lipski’s F.I.S.H. in San Antonio, TX. Photo by Cole Weatherby.

First, riding the water taxi up to the San Antonio Museum of Art I was quite awe-struck by Donald Lipski‘s F.I.S.H. installation. Suspended under the I-35 bridge is a huge school of immense fiberglass long-eared sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) sculptures in full breeding coloration. The biologist in me can’t help but mention that these fish would probably not be found together in schools during breeding season when the fish are fiercely defending territories, eggs and young. However, this species of sunfish is arguably one of the most beautiful of our native Texans and these larger-than-life individuals are a great examples of our natural heritage. The sculptures are very anatomically accurate, so I was not surprised to find out that they were fabricated for Lipski by well-known fish taxidermist Mike Kirkhart (ah, taxidermy — biocreativity at perhaps its most literal). I’m only sad that I didn’t get to see the fish at night, because they light up! For those who visit the museum, the extra “contingency fish” is inside for a closer look. I, for one, want to know when we’ll be seeing paddlefish under I-20E, orange darters under I-30 and desert pupfish under I-10W!

Hunt Slonem's Toucans at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo by Cole Weatherby

Hunt Slonem's 'Toucans' at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo by Cole Weatherby

Inside the museum I discovered two new-to-me biocreative artists that I love. First, I was delighted by Hunt Slonem‘s Toucans. Its bold colors, the playfulness of these comical creatures and the sheer size of the piece (it was easily 10 feet across) had me itching to see more of Slonem’s work. He is most well-known for his paintings and sculptures of tropical birds, and I look forward to learning more about his work.

Mel Casas' Humanscape #57 at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo by Cole Weatherby

Mel Casas' Humanscape #57 at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Photo by Cole Weatherby

Right across from Toucans was Mel Casas’ Humanscape #57, which features the most familiar plant in Texas: the Bluebonnet. While this painting conveys a lot of (dare I say, cool?) botanical information, it is both an antiquarian and in-your-face representation of this Texas icon.

John Alexander's 'Feathering the Cultural Nest' at the McNay Museum in San Antonio. Photo by Cole Weatherby

John Alexander's 'Feathering the Cultural Nest' at the McNay Museum in San Antonio. Photo by Cole Weatherby.

Moving on to the McNay Art Museum, I loved the birds, fish and crocodilians of John Alexander‘s Feathering the Cultural Nest (1986).

All-in-all it was a great weekend to see some biocreative art!

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One thought on “Biocreativity on the Road: Biology + Art in San Antonio, Texas

  1. Pingback: biocreativity at esa 2011 | biocreativity

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