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Opera, extinction and take-home art at SITE Santa Fe

Artist Ann Hamilton's installation at SITE Santa Fe is lined with scans of bird and animal specimens. (Jackie Jadrnak/Journal)

Artist Ann Hamilton’s installation at SITE Santa Fe is lined with scans of bird and animal specimens. (Jackie Jadrnak/Journal)

SANTA FE, N.M. — You not only will be able to hear free Friday evening opera singing, but you will have a chance to tear off a piece of take-home art at one of the new installations at SITE Santa Fe’s 20 Years/20 Shows summer exhibition.

Its opening for members is tonight (Friday), but the general public can take a look beginning Saturday. Be sure to check out Ann Hamilton’s “the common SENSE: the animals” (2014-15). The room dedicated to her work is filled top to bottom with newspaper tablets of scans of birds and animals in a (yes, dead) specimen collection at the University of Washington, according to SITE curator Janet Dees.

The scans are the actual size of the critter, sometimes joined in two or more sheets. But each sheet has many copies attached together, and viewers are invited to tear one off to take home.

There’s a catch, though — at least an emotional or intellectual one. The act of taking away the image is meant to remind you about what humans are doing to reduce the diversity and populations of flora and fauna in our

Viewers are free to tear off copies of Ann Hamilton's bird images at SITE Santa Fe. (Jackie Jadrnak/Journal)

Viewers are free to tear off copies of Ann Hamilton’s bird images at SITE Santa Fe. (Jackie Jadrnak/Journal)

environment.

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Does that mean the walls could end up empty? Well, yes, Dees said at a Friday morning preview for news media and other guests.

So you’re left with a dilemma: To take or not to take?

Perhaps you can ease your mental turmoil over that decision with the soothing power of music. Hamilton is collaborating with the Santa Fe Opera for a different vocal apprentice and pianist to stop by on SITE’s free Friday evenings to perform at 5:45 p.m. through Aug. 28.

But, Dees explained, “The opera is not coming to perform for us, but they are serenading the animals.”

It only seems right to give a lyrical good-bye to the disappearing species.

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