Strolling through Victorian picture galleries, doyennes shook their neck waddles with disgust when presented with the first works by the Impressionists. "Why, my golden marmoset could paint a better portrait than that," they hissed.
History has recorded such exclamations as dismissals of the Impressionists, rather than understanding them in the spirit in which they were intended: boasts of the surprising art skills of captive animals.
The art world will have a chance to redeem itself on Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. when "Savage", an exhibit of art made by animals, opens at the Bakehouse Art Complex.
The show is presented by Zoo Miami and the South Florida chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers, known as SFAAZK. (When the receptionist answers, it sounds like she's in the middle of a laser gun battle).
The event will raise money for the artists, which is how normal art gallery shows work. But this time, you can be assured that the artists won't blow the cash on weird pants.
Though the show will be held at the Bakehouse Art Complex (561 NW 32nd St., Miami), the zoo animals will be on hand for the first hour, giving the curious a chance to pick the artists' brains (or their back fur for mites). You can hear the animals' complaints, straight from the zebra's mouth: How if you sculpt in marble, you're a genius, but if you do it with your own feces all of a sudden they lock you in a cage. Or how the art establishment has decided that if a human floats a dead shark in formaldehyde, it's worth zillions, but if that same shark were doing edgy stuff with treated metal sculptures, he couldn't even get a gig at Larry Gagosian's petting zoo.
Oh! And there will be an auction, a raffle, zoo-themed snacks and food trucks! It's all hosted by Ron Magill, animal photographer and Zoo Miami wildlife expert.
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"Savage" runs Saturday, June 1, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with animal encounters for the first hour. Admission is free. Visit miamimetrozoo.com.