Chicago

Fred Escher

Walter Kelly Gallery

“Forest Home” is an exhibition which—believe it or not—concerns “The Family,” i.e., Ricky the rat, Bushy Tail the squirrel, Peter the rabbit, and Fox. Fred Escher’s installation of drawings, photographs, stuffed animals, cleaning equipment and book/ catalog suggests the following not necessarily sequential events: Fox trails (and subsequently eats) rabbit, Bushy Tail chews nuts, Ricky kisses another squirrel, rabbit and possum play dead, Bushy Tail bares sharp teeth, raccoon hunts Fox, Ricky jumps into a box, etc.

A lot of recent shows have been concerned with images of animals. Some post-’60s ecological concern? Or city people’s nostalgia for “purity” of country and forest life? Ironically, though, Escher’s work is not really about animals. Rather he has merely appropriated the seedy, natural history collection of the university where he teaches and used the things as art objects, personified

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