New exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden features dozens of birdhouses made by artists and architects

May 23, 2022

Photo © Brooklyn Botanic Garden

An outdoor exhibition featuring dozens of artist-made birdhouses will open at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden next month. Debuting on June 11, “For the Birds” highlights the connection between birds, plants, and the importance of protecting plant ecosystems. The installation coincides with the release of “For the Birds: The Birdsong Project,” a multi-album collection of original songs and readings inspired by birds compiled by music supervisor Randall Poster.

Birdega. Courtesy of Olalekan Jeyifous. © Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The garden-wide exhibition includes more than 30 site-specific birdhouses created by artists, architects, and designers. Inspired by the BBG’s resident birds, the birdhouses are all unique and made of a variety of materials.

Birdhouses include “Birdega” by Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous, “Four Our Neighbors,” by architect Joyce Hwang, “Oh Robin!” by designer Nina Cooke John, and “Four Birds” by architect Steven Holl and composer Raphael Mostel, among others. A map marking the location of every birdhouse in the garden can be found here.

Oh Robin! Courtesy of Nina Cooke John. © Brooklyn Botanic Garden

On the installation’s opening day on Saturday, June 11, the garden will host several programs, including a meet-and-greet with some of the artists, a bird puppet workshop for kids, participatory music and dance parade with Metropolis Ensemble, birds of prey workshop, and more.

Related programs that will run throughout the exhibition include a morning bird watching tour to celebrate the Black birding community, songbird sketching classes, and after-hours programs including music performances, cocktails, and tours during the summer.

The For the Birds: The Birdsong Project is a 20-LP box set with contributions from more than 200 musicians, poets, and visual artists compiled by Poster, who worked as a music supervisor with famous filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson. Poster, like many New Yorkers, reconnected with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic and was inspired by birds and the need for conservation. Proceeds from the album benefit the National Audubon Society.

“People were spending a lot of time looking out the window,” Poster told the New York Times in an interview. “There was so much that was unknown and unknowable that we were comforted by the fact nature was still doing its thing.”

The Birdsong Project album will be a part of the garden’s exhibit, with visitors enjoying the original music and poems via “listening stations and live performances” as they explore the birdhouses.

“For the Birds” will be on view at BBG through October 23. All For the Birds programs are free with Garden admission unless otherwise noted.


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