Biodiversity inspires this selection of works, encouraging us to take a break from looking at one another and instead carefully watch the other species in our midst. You’ll find ultra-tiny octopuses from Japan, an elegant local heron who sits on high alert, and a frog and whale in glass. Fish swim into view, from carps with twisting tails to a shark with a torpedo-like body. Some creatures take on mythic features, as seen in a sea serpent and a possible pig vertebrae/leaf spirit. Finally, a sawfish emerges with a signature nose that has almost led to the species’s extinction. While we savor our time watching such companions, we also know that many are endangered by our notorious arrogance and we must pay more attention to their needs.
Model of a Carp, Sea Bass, Blowfish, Shrimp and Octopus, ca. 1820, Hasegawa Ikko, Japanese, ivory with inlaid decoration and color, 15/16 x 2 1/4 x 1 5/16 in. (2.4 x 5.7 x 3.4 cm), Gift of the Robert B. and Honey Dootson Collection, 91.167