The Baker Museum
Artis-Naples, Florida, USA
From November 14, 2017 to January 14, 2018
The Baker Museum | Artis-Naples
5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard
Naples, Florida 34108-2740
Museum Director & Chief Curator
Composed of about forty great apes' portraits, archive photographs, scientific documents, biographies, and of a "vanity" (consisting of a skull of Grauer's gorilla and different butterflies from Eastern Congo), the exhibition "Being Ape: Untold Stories About Gorillas" blends, art, science, history, primatology and philosophy of science. This exhibit is, in some way, a cabinet of curiosities entirely dedicated to great apes, and more specifically to a subspecies of gorillas, the Grauer's gorilla, through one of its ambassadors, Victoria. Fulfilled by her encounters with bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans in zoos and sanctuaries in Africa, United States, and Europe, Chris Herzfeld explores the history of primatology and the biographies of great apes in captivity, through her research in philosophy of science and her artistic practice. In her work, she seeks to develop a critical view on the dualistic paradigm of Western thought, the relationship established between humans and great apes, and the pertinence of the boundary raised between human and animal. She also focuses on the ability of the captive primates to make a life in an environment radically different from their ancestral tropical forests. Exploring the idea of "that-has-been" theorized by Roland Barthes, the exhibition refers to the question of finitude of beings, the species extinction, and the disappearance of ancient worlds.