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This Friday, August 7, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, New York, unveils The Pollinator Pavilion, a new public artwork by internationally renowned artists Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood. Combining their well-known practice of making site-specific installations and their fascination with nature, the interactive artwork is a fantastical architectural setting meant to provide sustenance to pollinators and a place of wonder for human visitors.
Visitors may have an up-close encounter with enchanting creatures, particularly the fleeting Ruby-throated hummingbird, an important pollinator and the only hummingbird species that lives in the Hudson River Valley region.
The 21 ½-foot-high open-air, lavender-painted, Gothic-style gazebo will be filled with living pollinator gardens, feeders, original paintings by the artists, and seating for one guest at a time. Designed to attract pollinators and humans to share the same space, the pavilion creates a radical decontextualization in which individuals can see themselves as part of nature and understand their own capacity to foster an environment of ecological balance.
The Pollinator Pavilion was originally inspired by the influential series of paintings known as The Gems of Brazil (1863-64) by the nineteenth-century artist, Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904), a protégé of Frederic Church, who was in turn a protégé of Thomas Cole. The Gems of Brazil will be on view as part of the major traveling exhibition, “Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church and our Contemporary Moment,” created by the Thomas Cole Site (Catskill, NY), The Olana Partnership at Olana State Historic Site (Hudson, NY), and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR), which will be presented jointly and open in full at the Thomas Cole Site and Olana State Historic Site in Spring 2021. The Pollinator Pavilion will be a part of that exhibition, which was delayed by a year due to COVID-19.