Part of the exhibition Animal Instinct: Allegory, Allusion, and Anthropomorphism, on view through June 5, 2011, at the JohnMichaelKohlerArtsCenter.
Since prehistoric times, only human beings have rivaled animals as the foremost subject of art. When the kingdom Animalia is broadly defined, Homo sapiens are full-fledged members—like it or not. That humans are animals is a point frequently set aside in favor of the vast divide between “us” and “them.” Today, perhaps more than ever, artists are tapping into the wellspring of symbolism and metaphors that animals offer. It is, in fact, the underlying commonalities between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom that lie at the heart of our fascination with them.