Painting Primates (Visual Sociology #001)

“Painting primates” by Justin Goodman and Joseph Klett

Welcome to the first article in our visual sociology column! It introduces a less widely known area of sociology: the study of animals and society. Do check out the website of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Animals and Society (and their Facebook page) to learn more about this fascinating subfield of sociology.

The photograph, titled ‘Melody’ and taken in 2013, is part of Painting Primates: A collaboration between human and chimpanzee artists, a project by Justin Goodman and Joseph Klett. In the image, you can see the human artist working on the canvas which has already been painted on by his chimpanzee collaborator.

In this photograph, human artist Nathaniel Gold, author of the Chimpanzee Manifesto, paints a portrait of a young chimpanzee named Melody, a resident of Florida’s Save the Chimps sanctuary.  The piece is being painted on a canvas started by Cheetah, another resident of the sanctuary who was rescued from a laboratory and now chooses to paint as a form of behavioural enrichment.

The photo is part of research by Goodman and Klett documenting the collaborative art project between Gold, Cheetah and other chimpanzees that is being featured in the forthcoming art show, “Equality & Individuality: Collaborative Art Between Primates.” This article, Painting with Chimps, introduces Gold’s work in more detail.

Nathaniel painting closeup 2

‘Melody’ (2013) from Painting Primates: A collaboration between human and chimpanzee artists. Photo by Justin Goodman and Joseph Klett.

Justin Goodman (justin.goodman@marymount.edu) is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Marymount University and a member of the leadership council of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Animals and Society. Joseph Klett (joseph.klett@yale.edu) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Yale University.

Poster for "Equality and Individuality: Collaborative art between primates" May 3, 2013

Poster for “Equality and Individuality: Collaborative art between primates” (click on the photo to see the event)
May 3, 2013

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Categories: Research Profiles, Visual Sociology

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