A Feast of Beasts
There are many ways that humans collect and consume other creatures. From common pets to exotic beasts, animals have been captured visually, showcasing the ways that they
are used for practical and metaphorical ends. Shelley Reed’s Predator/Prey (after Oudry) is the fulcrum for A Feast of Beasts – placed in the midst of a menagerie of animals from FAM’s permanent collection, spanning new acquisitions such as Lee Friedlander and Jim Dine’s Untitled (Dog and Robe) to old favorites such as Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait’s On Guard and Anna Hyatt Huntington’s Yawning Tiger. The display features a diverse sampling of objects, offering a broad historical and geographic glimpse of the numerous ways that people have depended on animals for livelihood, food, transportation,
comfort, pleasure and the making of meaning.
Reed’s ovals underscore the tendency to use animals as metaphorical decoys, enticing viewers to consider themselves through these representations. Like a feast or a naturalist’s display, the objects are categorized into courses that, while containing different ingredients or specimens, loosely center on documentation, cross-cultural looking and appropriation, beauty and pleasure and symbolism.