Art Fag City at The L Magazine: In Praise of Beavers

by Art Fag City on June 10, 2009 The L Magazine

Maura Doyle at Paul Petro Contemporary Art in Toronto

My latest piece at the L Magazine is a book review! I take a look at Maura Doyle’s A Guide To Beaver Architecture: Sticks and Mud Reconsidered.

Do beavers act on instinct, or do they build with human-like planning and intention? Canadian artist Maura Doyle's book A Guide To Beaver Architecture, Sticks and Mud Reconsidered considers this question, leaning toward architectural accomplishment, while occasionally attributing great creative prowess to the beaver. Well, sort of. Her concept of The New Age Beaver supposedly provides a means to side-step the inquiry over innate versus calculated behavior by envisioning a beaver who builds with discarded cultural goods. For some reason, the animal has access to infinite information, though we never see that idea fleshed out enough to know what it means. Still, readers on the “beavers create through instinct alone” side of the fence will likely find the beaver investigation amusing in its goofiness, even if it's clear Doyle takes the subject a little more seriously than they do. She may be in on the joke, but she goes to the trouble of researching six chapters worth of beaver production.

To read the full piece click here.

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