NYCU | David Brooks Is In His Element

David Brooks, "Imbroglios (a phylogenetic tree, from Homo sapiens to Megalops atlanticus)," 2012. Fiberglass, gelcoat, MDF, pencil, hardware; 21 x 12 x 5 feet. Installation view from "Notes On Structure (imbroglios, heaps and myopias)," American Contemporary, New York, March 29–April 29, 2012. Production still from the "New York Close Up" film, "David Brooks Is In His Element". © Art21, Inc. 2013. Artwork courtesy of the artist and American Contemporary, New York.

David Brooks, “Imbroglios (a phylogenetic tree, from Homo sapiens to Megalops atlanticus),” 2012. Fiberglass, gelcoat, MDF, pencil, hardware; 21 x 12 x 5 feet. Installation view from “Notes On Structure (imbroglios, heaps and myopias),” American Contemporary, New York, March 29–April 29, 2012. Production still from the “New York Close Up” film, “David Brooks Is In His Element”. © Art21, Inc. 2013. Artwork courtesy of the artist and American Contemporary, New York.

What can an artist learn from the hard sciences?

In today’s New York Close Up film, artist David Brooks discusses the motivations and broader meanings behind his ongoing work as a volunteer with conservation biologists in the Amazon basin region of South America. Long fascinated by birds and fish, Brooks has been doing frequent field work since 2005 with conservation biologist Dr. Nathan Lujan and his research team in Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, studying the evolution of the local armored catfish populations. Working directly in and along rivers, Brooks collects, documents, and preserves the armored catfish for the team. It’s a uniquely hands on opportunity to experience the wildly diverse ecosystems of the Amazon region—to “witness evolution itself”—as well as the chance to interact directly with the scientists. For Brooks, the scientists’ insistently multi-disciplinary approach—which takes into consideration a complex and intersecting set of geologic, ecologic, cultural, and economic factors—is not just a model for his own artistic practice but a way of creating a more “robust personal worldview.” Featured in the film are artworks from the series Still Life with Stampede and Guano (2011) at NADA Miami and the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, and the exhibition Notes on Structure (2012) at American Contemporary, New York.

David Brooks (b. 1975, Brazil, Indiana, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Watch the film below.

CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Cinematography: Don Edler, Ian Forster, Nicholas Lindner, & Andrew David Watson. Sound: Scott Fernjack & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Amanda Long & Tida Tippapart. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: David Brooks. Additional Photography & Graphics: David Brooks & Dr. Nathan Lujan. Thanks: Augustine, American Contemporary, Coypu Foundation, Mark Dion, Matthew Dipple, Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, Dr. Nathah Lujan, NADA Miami, Ersy Schwartz, Dr. Donald Taphorn. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved.

New York Close Up is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Toby Devan Lewis; Lambent Foundation; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.; and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.

Contributor
Jonathan Munar is the Director of Digital Media and Strategy at Art21, overseeing the organization's overall digital, Web, and social media presences. He edits and contributes to Art21's "Art 2.1" column.

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