.....by Dan R. Kunkle
.....Wildlife Activist, Number 62 p. 26
.....Published: Autumn 2008
Humans, Nature, and Birds explores the topic of “Science Art”—art that represents truths about the natural world and teaches us indirectly about nature. Science Art has been used to inspire, educate, and to learn about nature and to conserve it. The book is laid out as a “virtual gallery” of Science Art like a guide to a real museum, with two floors, each with five rooms. The lower floor examines science art with a bird theme through the ages, from cave paintings to modern art that promotes conservation biology. The second floor gallery is more philosophical, delving into how art and science overlap. The book is complex and deep—not your ordinary collection of bird art, although you will find a few Audubon, Peterson, or Bateman paintings. And while photography is included, the emphasis here is on drawings and paintings, which can portray details of structure or behavior more readily than photographs. The authors advocate displaying Science Art on blank walls in public spaces and at academic institutions, not just in museums, which they note are mostly reserved for dead artists. They also advocate the use of the Internet to describe the art located in these spaces and the importance of this art in promoting conservation. A very interesting appendix—Timeline Linking Art, Technology, and Bird Study—is worth the price of admission to this virtual museum. This is a most unique, unusual, and thought provoking book.