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Erie Art Museum Opens Diane Fox: UnNatural History

Exhibition explores dioramas in natural history museums.

Erie, PA, April 27, 2007 --( The Erie Art Museum opens the Diane Fox: UnNatural History exhibition today in the Museum’s Annex Gallery, 423 State Street.

UnNatural History is an exhibit about exhibits, comprised of photographs of dioramas in natural history museums in the United States and Europe. The photographs are all deliberately the same size and are framed in shadow boxes, in order to enhance the viewer’s feeling that they are viewing cases in a natural history museum.

“This exhibit is intended to make people think about why museums create life-like scenes using taxidermic animals to evoke often distant and occasionally dangerous moments in places,” said Fox. “What impulse drives viewers to go to these curious exhibitions in the first place?”

In her photographs of dioramas, Fox reveals they way we reproduce a world of which we have limited physical knowledge in an attempt to make it more tangible, safe and believable. Examples include a buffalo stampede at the Milwaukee Public Museum and a pair of nuzzling zebras at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

According to Fox, these works allow the viewer to contemplate “the real and the unreal, the versions of the life portrayed and the actuality of death, the inherent beauty of the animals within their fabricated environment and the understanding of its invention.” Ultimately, Fox says, we question whether taming the natural environment through artistic methods raises or dulls our awareness and our understanding of how we might work to save it.

Fox’s opening reception and gallery talk are scheduled for Friday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum Annex. The exhibition runs through July 15.

About the Erie Art Museum
The Erie Art Museum anchors downtown Erie’s cultural and economic revitalization, occupying a group of restored mid-19th century commercial buildings, including an outstanding 1839 Greek Revival Bank. It maintains an ambitious program of 15 to 18 changing exhibitions annually, embracing a wide range of subjects, both historical and contemporary and including folk art, contemporary craft, multi-disciplinary installations, community-based work, as well at traditional media.

The Erie Art Museum also holds a collection of over 5,500 objects, which includes significant works in American ceramics, Tibetan painting, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and a variety of other categories.

The Museum offers a wide range of education programs and artists’ services including interdisciplinary and interactive school tours and a wide variety of classes for the community. Performing arts are showcased in the 24-year-old Contemporary Music Series, which represents national and international performers of serious music with an emphasis on composer/performers, and a popular annual two-day Blues & Jazz festival.

The Erie Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free for members, free on Wednesdays, $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens and students and $2 for children under 12.

For additional information on the Erie Art Museum, visit online at or call (814) 459-5477.

Contact Information
Erie Art Museum
Tammy Roche

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