Dr. Sarah Zohdy, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, is a contributor to an Audubon book launch March 2 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University.
The program will host a book launch and public program for “Audubon’s Last Wilderness Journey: The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America” on Friday, March 2, from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The authors will be on site to participate in panel discussions and lectures to discuss their research and share their perspectives on Audubon’s final project.
Dr. Zohdy, whose academic and research interests are in the ecological and evolutionary drivers of disease in human and animal communities, holds a joint appointment with the College of Veterinary Medicine and AU’s Department of Wildlife Sciences in the School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences. The new book contains a compilation of contributors’ essays and is the first complete collection of Audubon’s illustrations of the viviparous quadrupeds of North America, Dr. Zohdy said.
“Audubon’s Last Wilderness Journey: The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America” re-examines the story behind what would become Audubon’s last journey and final artistic enterprise. The major essay of this book includes an overview of the 1845–47 expedition which formed the basis behind the series and the art historical context of the project, with excerpts from J.J. Audubon’s journal by Ron Tyler, noted Audubon scholar and retired director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
There is also a timeline of the quadruped project by Audubon scholar Daniel Patterson and essays by Dr. Zohdy, Robert Gitzen and Jim Armstrong, and Chris Lepczyk from Auburn University’s Department of Wildlife Sciences, which look at zoological aspects of the series, including classification issues and new species, the specific botanicals represented, and a consideration and comparison of “then and now” as well as the wider importance of the pre-settlement wilderness. There is also an essay about the process of making these hand-colored lithographic by JCSM curator of exhibitions and collections, Dennis Harper.
Speaking about the project Harper noted, “Working on our Quadrupeds book and the related exhibition granted me a much stronger appreciation of Audubon and his team’s great accomplishment. The images are remarkable in so many different respects––their documentary and scientific observations, the inventiveness of the compositions, and especially the technical and artistic mastery that is reflected in the original hand-colored prints. More than 170 years since their creation, the works remain fresh and dynamic. One of my greatest pleasures in conducting research for the project was transcribing handwritten entries from the diary of Edward Harris, who accompanied Audubon on the expedition up the Missouri River frontier in search of native mammals. Reading Harris’s firsthand, dramatic accounts of Indian attacks, buffalo hunts, drunken sailors, duels, and illness, along with more mundane activities, brought to life the daunting scope of the task they undertook in 1843.”
When asked about the upcoming program, museum director Marilyn Laufer said, added, “Creating an event where all of our authors, who offered vastly different perspectives for the book, can be face to face sharing their research and discussing the publication will be a unique and exceptional educational moment. Uniting the artistic with the scientific was Audubon’s life work and through our publication and collaboration we are able to give that work a 21st century perspective. “
Copies of the book can be purchased through the Museum Shop at a discounted price of $49.95 for all who attend the program or book signing.
In further celebration of all things Audubon, a special pop-up shop has opened inside the museum’s Grand Gallery. Audubon’s Wilderness Outpost offers a line of newly created Audubon-inspired merchandise including tea towels, puzzles, magnets, bookmarks, tote bags and more.
Below is the complete agenda:
9 a.m. WELCOME, INTRODUCTION, AND REMARKS ON LOUISE HAUSS AND DAVID BRENT MILLER AUDUBON COLLECTION AT JCSM Marilyn Laufer, director, JCSM
9:15 a.m. “THE MAKING OF THE VIVIPAROUS QUADRUPEDS OF NORTH AMERICA” Ron Tyler, former director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and author of Audubon’s Great National Work: The Royal Octavo Edition of The Birds of America
9:45 a.m. “SET IN STONE: THE USE OF LITHOGRAPHY IN AUDUBON’S QUADRUPEDS” Dennis Harper, curator of collections and exhibitions, JCSM
10:15 a.m. “MODERNIZATION OF NATURAL HISTORY: FROM AUDUBON TO NOW” Sarah Zohdy, assistant professor of Disease Ecology in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University
11 a.m. PANEL DISCUSSION BY CO-AUTHORS OF “MODERNIZATION OF NATURAL HISTORY: FROM AUDUBON TO NOW”
Sarah Zohdy, Christopher A. Lepczyk, Robert A. Gitzen, and James B. Armstrong, faculty of Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
11:30 a.m. “JOHN JAMES AUDUBON’S WORK IN THE CONTEXT OF ART AND SCIENCE: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON NATURE WRITING” Daniel Patterson, professor emeritus of American Literature, Central Michigan University, and author of The Missouri River Journals of John James Audubon, and John James Audubon’s Journal of 1826: The Voyage to The Birds of America.
12:30 p.m. BOOK SIGNING
MEDIA CONTACT: Connor Lowry, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art