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The Unauthorized Audobon...a conversation in prints and poetry

The Unauthorized Audubon is a conversation in prints and poetry, a quirky and light-hearted coupling of creative expression between two Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) faculty members on the Michigan State University campus. Birds provide the inspiration for the imagery and verses.

"The Unauthorized Audubon began with friendship and feathers: a surprise block print, and a new poem in response. One gift led to another. Soon there were flocks of words and fowl stanzas, block prints nesting in mailboxes, cooing in pockets, and skittering under doors. The birds in these prints had stories and lives and histories and big feet. Clearly they were remarkable creatures. As they fluttered from imagination to reality, they sang out for appreciation of their unique personae. Someone had to introduce them to this world. We were chosen.

This project reacquainted us with the joy of play. While we are both quite serious about and dedicated to our individual artistic genres, we discovered in collaboration another level of artistic pleasure. Was our matching print with poem like a move in a chess game? Was it an echo of the old playground game, Red Rover ('Red Rover, Red Rover, send the next bird right over...')? Was it the surprise of what we might find in the Cracker Jacks when we went to our mailboxes to see what was nesting among the student papers, minutes of committee meetings, and announcements of conferences? Well, if you put down one Navajo Flute, I'll raise you an Appalachian Mustard Seed. Underneath it all was the childhood delight in sound and rhythm (and nonsense), in learning to speak multi-media, in seeing things anew and, honestly, in showing off. Such opportunities are not typically found or prized in the university setting. We think they should be. "


No current bookings. This exhibit is available.

This exhibition has been displayed at the Michigan State University Museum, East Lansing, MI and the Lookout Gallery, Snyder Hall, MSU, East Lansing.

  Rental fee $1,000, plus shipping
  Number of pieces: 48 wall mounted pieces
  Running feet required: 100 linear feet of wall space
  Insurance Value: $30,000
  Security requirement: Lockable, limited access display area; trained guards or comparable protection system; provisions to prevent public from touching objects; fire protection according to local ordinances
  Additional materials available: Press materials.

Laura B. DeLind holds a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at MSU. Trained as an anthropologist and critical food-system analyst, she also is a working graphic artist. She has been designing linocuts and hand pulling prints for over thirty years. Her prints sell nationally, appear in permanent art collections, and have been turned into logos and rubber stamps.  Laura has had several one woman shows, but the Unauthorized Audubon, a series of 22 poems and prints done with poet Anita Skeen, is her first artistic collaboration.
Laura is drawn to the boldness of black and white design, to organic shapes and pattern. She is also captivated by her immediate surroundings, especially by images found in her own back yard. For this reason, birds provide a ready-made subject matter for her thoughtful, yet whimsical prints.

Anita Skeen is director of the Center for Poetry at Michigan State University and a professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities where she also serves as Arts Coordinator. She is the author of five collections of poetry (Each Hand A Map; Portraits; Outside the Fold, Outside the Frame; The Resurrection of the Animals; and Never the Whole Story), a co-authored collection with Oklahoma poet Jane Taylor (When We Say Shelter), and the co-editor, along with Taylor, of the anthology, Once Upon a Place: Writing from Ghost Ranch. Her most recent work is a collaboration with visual artist Laura DeLind, 22 prints and poems of imaginary birds, The Unauthorized Audubon. Her work with Chicago visual artist Guillermo Delgado, The Secret Lives of Things, can be found at http://livesofthings.wordpress.com. In January of 2012, she served as Writer in Residence at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. For more than thirty years she has been the coordinator of the annual Creative Arts Festival at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM, and for fifteen years of the annual Ghost Ranch Fall Writing Festival.

The Unauthorized Audubon is now in print. You can purchase the book from the Michigan State University Press, click here.

Photo of a feathers print made by Laura B. DeLind

Today I prize this gift, reminder of the miracle of flight, that the world holds infinite wonder, that such fine delicate gestures can lift a stone.

excerpt by Anita Skeen

Photo of Navaho flute print by Laura B. DeLind

Navajo Flute by Laura B. DeLind

Photo of Pygmy checkerboard print by Laura B. DeLind

Pygmy Checkerboard by Laura B. DeLind

Photo of the Resurrection birds print by Laura B. DeLind

The Resurrection Birds by Laura B. DeLind




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