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Trophy Art March 4, 2014  |  By Jane Lavino

“How do you like the deer I kiled (sic)” inscription on reverse. Location and date unknown. From the collection of Ed Lavino

This snapshot reflects the fascination we have for animal trophies. UW professor, John Dorst, a specialist in the cultural study of taxidermy, says that mounts such as the deer head above allow us to literally “re-collect” the memory of a once living specimen (See his Saturday University talk: “Skin Remembers”).  Via the trophy mount, we vividly remember a wildlife encounter with all its sensory associations. Anyone who has seen both good and bad examples of taxidermy will attest that good taxidermists are artists.

Currently on exhibit at the Museum is another kind of trophy altogether: Trophy Art: Fun Forms for All.  The exhibit showcases some delightful artist interpretations of the “Trophy Art” theme. Diverse media include bone, aluminum, felted wool, cardboard, steel mesh, and paper mache. Each work of art references a live animal, be it moose, deer, elephant, frog or mouse! Some are spiritual, while others are whimsical. All are fantastic! They challenge us to reflect and stretch our boundaries regarding the art of the possible.

These faux animals mounts by Jackson Hole, national, and amateur artists are for sale!

-Jane Lavino, Sugden Family Curator of Education & Exhibits

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