Visitation

  • Walton Ford, Wingate Studio, Blue Heron Press, Visitation, 2004, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2010.3

Exhibition Label

In Visitation, a large flock of passenger pigeons gorge themselves in a field strewn with fruit and nuts. Ford’s scene recalls a written description by Audubon, “Whilst feeding, their avidity is at times so great that in attempting to swallow a large acorn or nut, they are seen gasping for a long while as if in the agonies of suffocation.” The birds’ ravenous feasting on the bounty of the land could symbolize the profligate exploitation of natural resources perpetuated by European settlers in the New World, which ultimately led to the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Ford also notes that the image alludes to the human tendency of blaming victims for their own destruction.


The Singing & the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art, 2014

Title
Visitation
Artists
Blue Heron Press (Publisher)
Date
2004
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
44 x 31 in. (111.7 x 78.8 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment

Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal – bird – pigeon
  • Landscape – mountain
  • Object – letter
Object Number
2010.3
Palette
Emoji
URL
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI