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Brandon Ballengée: "Audubon's Absence"

Media Contact:
Lenora Costa
(504) 293-4712

Brandon Ballengée: "Audubon's Absence"
Longue Vue Welcomes Eco-artist and Biologist Brandon Ballengée  
review Reception on Sunday, October 23, 11 a.m. to 1p.m.
Eco-Action immediately following at 1:30 p.m., Audubon Park
Exhibit on Display through January 2012

NEW ORLEANS - October 12, 2011 -Eco-artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée will bring his unique and thought provoking touch to Longue Vue House and Gardens as he presents "Audubon's Absence" this fall. For the exhibition, Ballengée will present artworks from his ongoing series, "Frameworks of Absence: The Extinct Birds of John James Audubon". Here, the artist has meticulously removed the depicted birds from actual historical John James Audubon prints (cut from original editions at the point in history when the species went extinct). Audubon is best known for his Birds of America volumes, which include several birds that are now declining or are already gone. The prints, transformed by Ballengée in this manner, reflect the erosion of certain avian species and make a statement about the changing face of the environment as we know it. For example, in a 19th-century hand-colored octavo that once depicted a serene pair of Labrador ducks, a species last seen in 1875, the ducks' images were removed with the landscape and surrounding foliage left intact, creating a haunting portrayal of the birds' disappearance, or, as the artist calls it, a "Framework of Absence". This series was first shown in 2006 as part of the "Silent Migration" exhibition in Central Park's Arsenal Gallery.

Ballengée will also be creating a new installation, titled "The Apparitions", which will utilize historic taxidermy specimens of extinct or declining birds. Here the animals are displayed with their backs to the viewer, moving away, to represent how some of the most beautiful and beloved birds of yesterday have disappeared and many are on the path to extinction right before our very eyes. Additionally, the artist/biologist will also be leading an Eco-Action (public field-trip) at Audubon Park to view wildlife and discuss the recently abandoned rookery. Accompanying the Ballengée exhibition at Longue Vue will be an original sound score by sonic artist and musician Andrew Pasco. For this piece, titled "Magpie", Pasco has compiled historic recordings of extinct bird species and through digital editing removed their now-forgotten voices.

Ballengée has exhibited extensively internationally and since 1996 has collaborated with numerous other scientists, members of the public, and students to conduct environmental research and Ecological Artworks. Recent solo exhibitions of his work were held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (London); Parco Arte Vivente, Centro d'Arte Contemporanea (Turin); Nowhere Gallery (Milan); The Arsenal Gallery in Central Park (NYC); Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University); Williams Center for the Arts, Lafayette College (USA); and the Shrewsbury Museum in Shropshire, England (the birth city of Charles Darwin). Brandon Ballengée's exhibit at Longue Vue coincides with Prospect 2 New Orleans and will be continued in Spring 2012 with a groundbreaking aquarium installation piece titled "Mississippi Delta Eco-Displacement", which will be later gifted to an area school for interactive education purposes.

Who: All media are invited for interview or photography opportunities.

What: "Audubon's Absence" art exhibition at Longue Vue House and Gardens

When: Preview Reception will take place on Sunday, October 23, 2011, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
            An Eco-Action field trip will immediately follow the reception, at Audubon Park 

            Exhibit will be on display through January, 2012.

Where: Longue Vue House and Gardens, 7 Bamboo Rd., New Orleans, LA

Information: Contact Lenora Costa at (504) 293-4712 or


 Longue Vue House and Gardens is an 8-acre Country Place Era estate comprised of a Classical Revival-style mansion surrounded by eleven different gardens, including an interactive children's garden. The former home of philanthropists Edith and Edgar Stern, Longue Vue now serves as an educational and cultural resource. Longue Vue offers tours Tuesday through Sunday and holds events and exhibits that fulfill its mission "to preserve and use the historical and artistic legacy of Longue Vue and its creators to educate and inspire people to pursue beauty and civic responsibility in their lives." Longue Vue, a designated National Historic Landmark, is accredited by the American Association of Museums and included on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Longue Vue is located at 7 Bamboo Road in New Orleans.  For more information, call (504) 488-5488 or visit our website at