Out Pictures of Junk and Pictures of Garbage. In each of these projects, Muniz creates images using… you guessed it: junk and garbage.
The New York-based artist constructs painting-like visuals out of random waste. He utilizes discarded items that include food products, dirt, toys, papers, plastics, wires, old clothes, and tires. The list is never-ending and ever-fascinating. His innovative creations have a magnetism that would otherwise be unfit for a pile of garbage.
In Pictures of Garbage, Muniz takes pictures of catadores, the people of Brazil who collect recyclable materials from garbage dumps, and recreates their images using discarded rubbish. After meeting these hardworking people, it became a collaborative effort in which the subjects helped to create their re-imaging. Muniz’s other waste-fueled project, Pictures of Junk, is the artist’s junkyard reinterpretations of classic paintings, including Caravaggio’s Narcissus.
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Lonesome George, the Galapagos tortoise who was the last of his kind, is on view at the Museum through January 4, 2015. Below is a quick rundown of everything you need to know about Lonesome George.
Species: Last documented member of Chelonoidis abingdoni, native to Pinta Island
Age: Thought to be more than 100 years old
Diet: Cactus, shrubs, grasses, and broad-leaved plants
Turtle vs. tortoise? Tortoises are turtles that live exclusively on land.
Did you know? Lonesome George—the lone tortoise of his species for at least 40 years—was named after a famous 1950s American TV comedian, George Gobel, who called himself “Lonesome George.”
Notable traits: An extremely long neck and a “saddle-backed” shell that rises slightly in front, like a saddle
Weight: About 165 lbs (75 kg); males of various species of Galapagos tortoises can exceed 660 lbs (300 kg) and are the largest living tortoises
Discovery: In 1971, a Hungarian scientist spotted Lonesome George on Pinta Island. The discovery surprised researchers who thought Pinta Island tortoises were already extinct. A year later, George was taken to the Tortoise Breeding and Rearing Center on Santa Cruz Island, where he lived for the next 40 years.
Saving Lonesome George: Staff at the Galapagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station tried repeatedly to mate Lonesome George with females from closely related species. Those efforts failed, but a new strategy to revive the species is underway. The discovery of hybrid tortoises partially descended from Pinta Island tortoises on Isabela Island, where whalers or pirates likely moved them long ago, provides the opportunity for establishing a breeding colony whose young will initiate the recovery of a reproductive population on Pinta.
Can’t get enough Lonesome George info? Head to the Museum’s website for more.
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Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) dive for fish in Shetland.
Northern Gannets dive vertically into water at speeds of up to 100 km/hr, so their morphology is adapted to suit this. They have no external nostrils, and their secondary nostrils (which open into the roof of their mouth) can be closed while under water. The same can be done for their auditory canals, which are very small and covered with feathers. Their sternum is long and very strong, and Gannets also possess highly developed lungs and air sacs just under the skin along their chest and sides, which probably help buffer against the force of impact upon hitting the water.
Photo Credits: Richard Shucksmith | The Guardian