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the gibbes museum of art
Julie Buffalohead (Enrolled Member of the Ponca Tribe, United States, b. 1972), Six-Pack Colonialism, 2018. Oil on canvas 29 1/4 × 82 inches. Gift of the 2019 Blacktail Gala, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Julie Buffalohead. M2019.006

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art

February 3, 2023 - April 16, 2023

Galleries 8 & 9


Organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art, considers the diverse ways contemporary artists use animal imagery to address humanity’s interconnectedness with the natural world. Comprised of works exclusively from the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s permanent collection, this exhibition offers a wide range of works in a variety of media divided into four thematic sections: Tradition, Politics, Science, and Aesthetics. These realms act as overlapping chapters, investigating the ways we use animal imagery to tackle human concerns.

The title of this exhibition is a play on Charles Darwin’s concept of natural selection from his pivotal writing, On the Origin of Species (1859). Darwin’s ideas contributed much to the development of wildlife art in the late 1800s, as artists began to represent animals in natural habitats, enacting natural behaviors. The artists in this exhibit represent another stage in the evolution of animal art: choosing to represent animals in alternative, unnatural spaces—spaces more often directly linked to civilization than to wilderness.

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art is organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Generous support provided by Art Bridges.


  • National Wildlife Museum of Art
  • Art Bridges
  • BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina