Each year, we anticipate the Outsider Art Fair, one of the best fairs on the yearly circuit, with stops in NYC and Paris. This week, March 2—5 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC, the Outsider Art Fair is back with one of the most unique curatorial outlines and some of our favorite galleries coming together to showcase some of the great gems around the world. The 31st edition features 64 exhibitors from 28 cities in 8 countries, with 12 first-time exhibitors, all centered around the idea of self-taught artists. And one of the curated spaces at this year’s fair is We Are Birds, produced in partnership with The Birdsong Project to benefit the National Audubon Society,
OAF has joined forces with Grammy Award-winning music producer and supervisor, Randall Poster, who co-founded The Birdsong Project as a collaboration with some of the world’s most respected musicians, artists, poets, and actors, to support the National Audubon Society. Poster and fair owner Andrew Edlin, who have been friends since childhood, will co-curate We Are Birds, featuring dozens of works inspired by birdlife made by self-taught and contemporary artists, including Greg Burak, Minnie Evans, Tony Fitzpatrick, William Hawkins, Chris Johanson, Pam Lins, Eleanor Ray, Fred Tomaselli, and Bill Traylor.The project recently released For The Birds, an art-filled, 20-LP box set containing over 200 tracks of original music and bird-related poetry by composers and performers including Yoko Ono and Anohni, Elvis Costello, Laurie Anderson, Yo-Yo Ma, Beck, and Kamasi Washington, with avian-themed verse written by poets and read by actors and artists including Tilda Swinton and Robert Pattinson. Recently, The Birdsong Project presented an exhibition at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden that featured over 30 bird houses designed by a range of notable artists, architects, and designers, such as Tom Sachs, Nina Cooke John, Misha Kahn, and Suchi Reddy.
While quarantining in New York during the first year of the pandemic Poster became attuned to the rare and relative stillness of the natural world around him, revealing new sounds hiding in plain sight. “I spent a lot of time listening to the birds singing,” he says. “I was not alone. It was something that my friends and I began to talk about: the beauty of birds, the joy and mysteries of birdsong.”
It was The Birdsong Project’s executive producer, Rebecca Reagan who put things into focus and came up with the idea to reach out to people in the music community and ask them to create music built around birdsong.
Having overseen the music in Wes Anderson’s films for over two decades and produced and curated eclectic, multi-artist albums based on themes as disparate as the American Civil War and Woody Guthrie’s Dust bowl ballads, Poster now found himself profoundly inspired by birdsong, no longer indistinguishable from the ever-present sonic tableau of life in a bustling city.
Participating artists: Vahakn Arslanian, Shuvinai Ashoona, Romare Bearden, Pearl Blauvelt, Ilija Bašičević, Beverly Buchanan, Greg Burak, James Castle, Jacqueline Cedar, Kashinath Chawan, Thedra Cullar Ledford, Joseph Dupré, Paul Edlin, William Edmondson, Peter Eglinton, Minnie Evans, Tony Fitzpatrick, Walton Ford, Gary Goldhill, Daniel Gonçalves, Susan Halls, Karel Havlicek, William Hawkins, Pam Lins, Andy Malone, Margaret Meehan, Stanley Mouse, Michel Nedjar, Carolyn Oberst, Paa Joe, Madelaine Peckenpaugh, Kananginak Pootoogook, Eleanor Ray, Zack Rosen, Mark Sabin, Hans Schmitt, Jon Serl, Marilyn Shaw, Janet Sobel, Olga Spiegel, Fred Tomaselli, Bill Traylor, John Tweddle, Eugene von Bruenchenhein and Domenico Zindato.