The captivating delight of birds is explored in new exhibition
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The captivating delight of birds is explored in new exhibition
Georges Braque, French (1882-1963), Birds on a Blue Background, ca.1953. Stencil on paper, 15 x 11 1/8 in. Gift of Mr. & Mrs. William C. Murray, 63.10.

UTICA, NY.- The captivating delight of birds is explored in the exhibition, “More Than a Tweet: Birds, Art, and Culture,” March 12 through August the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art.

Elusive creatures of wonder and delight, birds have long fascinated artists and designers. “More Than a Tweet” explores the use of avian motifs and the colorful meanings associated with these mesmerizing creatures interpreted by artists including Georges Braque and John James Audubon. The exhibition is made up of artworks from the Museum of Art collection spanning two centuries, and features 22 paintings, works on paper, photographs, and various decorative arts, with many on view for the first time in decades.

“Birds inspire us as symbols that connect us – from the naturalist to the enthusiast, and from those who ponder the mysteries of life to those absorbed by mysteries of death,” said Miranda Hofelt, Munson-Williams curator of 19th-century art. “Spring and summer is the perfect time to exhibit these works. It is the season for bird watching. Birds are most visible and beautiful in the spring and it is delightful to see them raising their young during the summer.”

Discover the multifaceted meanings assigned to these winged wonders that have captivated people for 200 years. During the early 1800s, Americans were eager to learn about the marvels of the expanding nation, its natural environments, and abundant resources. Paintings, prints, illustrations, and everyday objects featured the flora and fauna, especially birds, that naturalists were documenting. As the world became increasingly industrialized and cities grew at alarming rates, people sometimes found sanctuary from the chaos of modern life by bringing Nature into their homes. Artists and designers reflected this fashion for natural motifs by capturing the colorful plumage and delicate forms of birds in flight or in peaceful solitude awaiting the next morsel. After 1900, in a century marked by two world wars and many global conflicts, artists used bird imagery to symbolize peace and love among humanity. The bird motifs in this exhibition help the viewer connect the past to the present, reflect on emotions and moods, and provide metaphors for the natural world.

The Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

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