Skip to main content

Fur, Feathers and Family: Our Relationship with Animals

Roy De Forest (b. 1930) American
Tom Druid in Hartzville, 1981
Polymer on canvas, 74 x 92
Collection of the ASU Art Museum. Gift of Stepháne Janssen

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

May 06, 2005

TEMPE, Ariz. - Animals have been a part of art ever since humans started drawing on cave walls more than 17,000 years ago. Socially, animals are an important part of our lives as companions, workers and members of the family. This summer, the ASU Art Museum pays tribute to our animal friends with the exhibition Fur, Feathers and Family: Our Relationship with Animals, May 14 - Aug. 6.

The exhibition includes more than 80 works by nearly 50 artists, spanning from the 18 th century to the present. Through prints, paintings, ceramics and sculpture, Fur, Feathers and Family shows how animals have been depicted in art throughout the ages - from status symbols in formal portraits to expressive personalities in contemporary works. All of the works are from the museum's permanent collection.

"Looking through the museum's storage areas, it became apparent that artists have felt a keen connection with animals," says curator Jean Makin. "This exhibition has artwork as diverse as the animal kingdom - from an alligator to cute puppies - that highlights our intertwined relationship with animals."

Fur, Feathers, and Family is an educational exhibition that also includes hands-on fun. Welcoming visitors to the exhibition is a large replica of the painting Tom Druid in Hartzville, by Roy DeForest. The colorful artwork on plywood invites interaction with holes carved into it for people to pose as part of the work and see themselves inside the painting via a video monitor. Children are invited to draw pictures of their favorite pets and post them in the exhibition.

Family Fun Day, one of the most anticipated museum events of the year, is July 16, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the museum. Hands-on art projects coinciding with the exhibition's theme include pet origami, paw prints, aquarium collage, animal totems and Japanese carp kites. The Arizona Humane Society will provide pet education and bring animals for adoption. The Great Arizona Puppet Theatre will present "My prehistoric birthday present" and a surprise character from a popular PBS children's show will appear courtesy of KAET-TV. Face painting of animal characters also is on the menu, among other activities.

The ASU Art Museum is part of the Herberger College of Fine Arts at Arizona State University and is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10 th Street in Tempe. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free. For more information, call (480) 965-2787 or visit the museum online at .

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay