Joseph Havel

The Arthur Roger Gallery is pleased to present Joseph Havel: Birdsongs an exhibition of sculptures and wall assemblages by Joseph Havel. The exhibition will be on view at Arthur Roger@434, located at 434 Julia Street, from May 7–July 16, 2022. The gallery will host an opening reception, with the artist in attendance, Saturday, May 7 from 6–9 pm in conjunction with Jammin’ on Julia.

The bronze sculptures and wall assemblages exhibited in Birdsongs is a collaboration between renowned sculptor Joseph Havel and his 18-year old African grey parrot Hannah. Like most Americans during lockdown, Joseph Havel turned to online shopping to fulfill basic needs. With the abundance of cardboard boxes Hannah reverted to her natural instincts and began chewing on the boxes. Havel stacked the boxes and allowed Hannah to revisit the boxes to make sure she was happy with her creations. Once both artists are satisfied with the box tower creations, Havel casts the creations in Bronze. “She brings her instinct, I bring mine, and somewhere in the middle we meet,” Havel says.

The work is a statement about the excess and waste of modern convenience. The convenience of quick, on-demand delivery increases the demand of fossil fuels and creates excess carbon emissions. The demand for cardboard boxes contributes to deforestation and habitat loss of species like the African grey parrot. The precarious appearance of the structures is a nod to  chaos of the past two years and the demise of our planet’s ecosystems. 

Along with the exhibition at Arthur Roger Gallery, other pieces from this body of work are on view in Parrot Architecture at Dallas Contemporary from April 16–August 21 and Flight Paths and Floor Plans at Dallas’s Talley Dunn Gallery from May 7–June 18. 

Joseph Havel is director of the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. In 2010, the Art League of Houston named Joseph Havel as “Texas Artist of the Year.” He was born in 1954 in Minneapolis and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota and a Master of Fine Arts at Penn State University. He has exhibited across the United States and abroad. His bronze sculpture “Exhaling Pearls,” from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, was included in the 1995 exhibition “Twentieth-Century American Sculpture at the White House.”  

Joseph Havel was selected to participate in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and the 2001 Phoenix Triennial. In 2006, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston hosted the exhibition “Joseph Havel: A Decade of Sculpture 1996-2006.” In addition to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Havel’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.