Created By: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
It's hard to miss this black and white wall-sized mural.
As a component of the Lab’s 2015 centennial anniversary, James Prosek created the “Wall of Silhouettes” to acknowledge the interconnected history of ornithological science and visual arts. It also notions at the importance birding culture and how it contributes to scientific studies. His mural depicts 140 species of life-sized bird silhouettes in their natural postures and habitats. In the mural each bird is pictured with a corresponding number. However, the “key” of species names does not appear on the wall. Prosek’s intention behind this is to force viewers to observe the abstract forms of the silhouettes without being able to immediately satisfy the urge of knowing exactly what species it is. He believes this provokes a deeper curiosity and appreciation for the different species. The Lab holds a key to the wall at our Visitor Center front desk for those who wish to check their guesses.
James Prosek is an artist, writer, and naturalist. He made his debut with his first major book, Trout: an Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996). While continuing to author his own books, Prosek is also a curatorial affiliate of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University and a member of the advisory board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Art Walk