Canadian, b. 1948
Breast Nest Pressers for the Perching Birds of Canada, 1976
wood, cotton, metal, paper, twigs, grasses, mud
91.5 x 243.8 x 20.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of the Winnipeg Rh Foundation Inc.
In the 1970s Liz Magor recorded the individual dimensions and shapes of 182 bird breasts and reproduced each as stuffed cotton breast presser. She included in the display separated and rearranged contents of gathered bird nests—twigs, string, feathers, dust—labelled and stored in a pseudo-scientific fashion. As a collection of objects stemming from a larger series called Bird Nest Boxes, Breast Nest Pressers for the Perching Birds of Canada belongs to the development of art multiples in the 1960s: serialized art objects often made of ephemeral material through processes of reproduction not commonly associated with art. In addition to inherently challenging the assumption that art must be something singular and concerned with aesthetic issues, this work humorously stimulates questions about the human impulse to ascertain, devise, and impose order on the world.