Exhibitions, products and personalities.
By Matt Shaw for The New York Times
Published April 21, 2022 Updated April 22, 2022
This article is part of our latest Design special report, about new creative pathways shaped by the pandemic.
Five years ago, when she chewed a piece of balsa wood into something resembling a small Giacometti, her owner, Joseph Havel, an artist based in Houston, had a realization: “Wow, I have a bird that is a sculptor!”
It was the start of a collaboration between man and pet that evolved into “Joseph Havel: Parrot Architecture,” an exhibition of sculptures and wall assemblages at Dallas Contemporary.
The partnership has been a boon during the pandemic. Parrots are social creatures that live in colonies, and Hannah is a natural nest-builder, Mr. Havel said. She works by gnawing and pecking at pieces of balsa wood and cardboard boxes, which the artist casts in bronze or coats in resin for durability. The works have sold for $35,000 to $120,000.
“Many of our dilemmas in this human-centric world are from not having an empathetic relationship with other species,” he said. “She has a culture, and I have a culture, and we have found common ground.”
Mr. Havel said he found himself “translating between the bird and foundry” and avoided putting too much of himself into the pieces. “Birdhouse 1” is a bronze cast of a pedestal of chewed balsa wood that Mr. Havel merely topped with two chewed shoeboxes. He took more liberty with “Broke Palace 1,” a composition of online-shopping boxes sculpted by Hannah that comments on the pandemic’s torrent of wasteful packaging. Through Aug. 21; dallascontemporary.org