Now through October 23, 2022, Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) is putting the spotlight on how birds are interconnected with plant life and what happens as one or both of them are being impacted by environmental changes.
“For the Birds” opened on June 11, 2022, as a multidisciplinary showcase highlighting an exhibit of 33-site specific birdhouses dispersed throughout the BBG.
They were created by artists, architects and designers with one provided by the event’s presenting sponsor, Warby Parker. For their birdhouse, the stylish eyewear company has “Books for Birds,” which flips the notion of birdwatching from birds to people. Located in BBG’s Bamboo Grove, “Books for Birds” is built with a stack of fictional book titles supporting this theme.
“Our aim in partnering on this interactive exhibition is to support continued education around the importance of preserving our world’s birdlife,” stated Warby Parker Co-Founder and Co-CEO Dave Gilboa, about their involvement, in a media release.
Aside from “Books for Birds,” other birdhouse creations in “For The Birds” are said to be inspired by BBG’s bird species in residence.
The Blue Heron Triangle, a birdhouse made by artists Chen Chen and Kai Williams, is constructed with reused plastic cartons and is topped with silk flags that replicate plastic bags. It is located in BBG’s Japanese-Hill-and-Pond Garden and is described as being designed to serve as a fishing platform for the great blue herons who frequent this garden.
Based at BBG’s Flatbush Avenue entrance, “Bug as food as house” is by artist Misha Kahn. It’s inspired by the idea of a bird eating a bug and made of ceramic and natural fibers.
Brooklyn artist Olalekan Jeyifous’s birdhouse, “Birdega,” is positioned inside the BBG’s Children’s Garden. Jeyifous’ artistic description noted that the birdhouse is a tribute to New York City’s “vanishing urban ephemera” resulting from rapid gentrification.
Each birdhouse is coupled with a track from “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project,” 20-album set of original recordings inspired by birds and birdsong.
The recordings consist of more than 70 poems and 20 original album covers by more than 220 music artists, actors, literary figures and visual artists.
Participants range from musicians Beck, Elvis Costello, Adam Horovitz, of The Beastie Boys, and Yo-Yo Ma, to actors Bette Milder, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Keaton, Natasha Lyonne and Wendell Pierce. Involved artists include Brian Calvin, Roz Chast, Chris Johanson, and Simone Shuback. Visitors to BBG will find listening areas for hearing tracks from “The Birdsong Project.”
The “Birdsong Project” is the brainchild of Randall Poster, the exhibition’s creative director and a film and television music supervisor. Randall Poster. In a media release, Poster said that he came up with the idea for the “Birdsong Project” while working from home in New York City amid the rising COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“As someone moved by and working on music all my life, I had my ears opened to the music of the birds and was moved by the beauty and variety of their song, “ said Poster. “I also learned that bird life was at great threat as habitats are 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 steadily decline of bird populations with climate change being a main driver but also loss of or damage to their natural habitats. A 2019 study by Science estimated that the bird population across North America has declined by 30 percent since 1970.
“ ‘For the Birds’ celebrates and underscores the existential connection between birds and plants, which are entirely mutually dependent, with art, education, and science for an audience of all ages,” stated Adrian Benepe, BBG’s president and CEO, in the same media announcement.
“For the Birds” also features an exhibition of works from multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon’s “Birds of the West Indies” in the Conservatory Gallery; a Soundbath featuring Alex Somers; and horticulture displays connected to the theme of birds and plants.
All “For the Birds” programs are free with general admission unless otherwise noted as a ticketed event. For more information, visit this website.