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Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson:
The Second Life of Polar Bears

Art + Environment Gallery | Floor 2

Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson investigate relationships between nature and culture, human and non-human animals, and domesticity and what is often referred to as “wild nature.” Working from both Reykjavik and London, they create installations that combine sculpture, text, photography, and video. Their most well-known exhibition, Nanoq: Flat Out and Bluesome (2001 – 2006), was a survey of all the taxidermied polar bears in the United Kingdom.

While researching the history of each bear, they identified the date, place and people associated with the animal’s death. They also created a photographic archive of each specimen and its taxidermic context—whether in storage, on display, or undergoing restoration.

Although Snæbjörnsdóttir and Wilson have worked with a number of other species, including birds and fishes, polar bears remain a subject of great interest to them. Since 2015 they have been artists-in-residence at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska in its Polar Labs program. Their work is on the denning habits and structures of the Alaskan bears, and how we must minimize disturbance of their dens by oil companies on the North Slope.

The materials for this exhibition are drawn from the Center for Art + Environment Archive Collections.