The Paleontology of Chris Wildrick Is Overrated: Skin & Bones (and horns and wings and feathers and spots and scales and teeth), aka Skin & Bones I, performed at the Community/Performance conference, Bryant College, 2004, original poster designed and exhibited at The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2004, book designed and exhibited at the Museum of the Earth, Ithaca, NY, 2010.


As part of his attempt to become a professional paleontologist, Chris decided to examine dinosaur aesthetics. To this end, he distributed a number of drawings of dinosaur skeletons to passersby and asked them to draw the dinosaurs' exteriors on top. In this way, he hoped to see what kind of expectations people had for the aesthetics of various dinosaurs, and whether those expectations varied by species, e.g., were predators colored in more intense colors than herbivores? The subjects included artists, biologists, and "normal" people over a wide range of ages. This piece was originally installed by showing the drawings side-by-side with an analysis of the decisions the artists made and speculation as to their influences (movies? science books?) and intents.

Skin & Bones II, Skin & Bones III, and Dinosaur Duo are all later projects that similarly allowed the participants to draw or sculpt their own versions of dinosaur exteriors.


Documentation:

The book (seen above) includes all of the drawings and their analysis. The original book featured a large fold-out poster, which can also be found at its full size in the PDF:

See this page, which collects all the paleontology books, for more photographs of the book.

(Chris recommends that you view the book PDFs on Acrobat, and that under View > Page Display, you select "Two-Up Continuous" and "Show Cover Page During Two-Up" for the full book experience. "Two-Up Continuous" shows the both the left- and right-hand pages in a spread together on your screen. "Show Cover Page During Two-Up" makes the first page of the book show as a single page on the right-hand side, thus making sure that all the following pages are shown in their correct pairings, like pages 2 and 3, pages 4 and 5, etc. Doing this will ensure that you see the book the way Chris designed it, with various visual and informational relationships existing between the left- and right-hand pages.)

 

Photographs of the drawings:

 

 

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