decision to fight or flee in the same way as we do, the fight-or-flight situation is one we can all relate to. Call of the Wild Magazine | 2015–16 37 EVEN IF ANIMALS do not process this ast year, the National Museum of Wildlife Art presented an exhibition titled Darwin’s Legacy: The Evolution of Wildlife Art. The show examined how Darwin’s theories influenced the visual arts; how, in particular, his work prompted artists to emerge from their studios and go out into the wilderness to study not only animal anatomy, but animal behavior and habitat. Developing the materials for this exhibit got many of us thinking about the connections between art and science in new ways. As Associate Curator of Art and Research, Bronwyn Minton, and I were thinking about a follow-up to Darwin’s Legacy, we began to identify works in the collection, both historic and contemporary, that dealt with motion in a variety of intriguing ways. Looking carefully at the dynamic poses in which artists chose to depict their animal subjects, the idea of using Fight or Flight as an organizing principle quickly emerged. Fight or Flight: Art, Action, Animals presents a range of artwork from the Museum’s collection depicting animals in action—running, rolling, swimming, flying and fighting. The title of the exhibit comes from a term coined by Harvard Professor Walter Cannon in 1915 to describe a mammal’s immediate response to a perceived threat. The animal either stays and fights or flees as fast as it can. These adrenaline-filled moments have been the subjects of innumerable works of art, created both before and after Cannon’s theory was published. Fight or Flight presents work illustrating either the fight or the flight, but expands on that subject to show a variety of animals in action in art. The exhibit is divided into three main sections: Motion, Fight or Flee, and Flight. (ABOVE) Carl Brenders (Belgian, born 1937), Without Warning, 1998. Gouache and watercolor on illustration board. 26 ½ x 38 ½ inches. Gift of Jim and Maggie Hunt, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Carl Brenders. (LEFT) Robert Bateman (Canadian, born 1930), Stretching Canada Goose, 1983. Oil on board. 36 x 28 inches. JKM Collection®, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Robert Bateman.
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