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Inside the Opening Reception of the Audubon Mural Project: Photographs by Gail Albert Halaban

On Thursday, October 3, Aperture patrons, artists, and friends gathered at Aperture Gallery to celebrate the opening of the Audubon Mural Project: Photographs by Gail Albert Halaban.

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GuestsSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Guest, Jill FairchildSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Guest, Jennifer BogoSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Cathy Kaplan, Gail Albert Halaban, guestSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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GuestsSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Jill Fairchild with family and friendsSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Jennifer Bogo, Chris Boot, and Jill Fairchild give opening remarksSteven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Steven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Steven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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Steven Davis/Aperture Foundation

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The exhibition, on view through October 15, showcases Albert Halaban’s photographs of murals depicting imperiled birds, each loosely based on the watercolors of John James Audubon, the pioneering nineteenth-century ornithologist. The murals, sited in and around the neighborhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights, where John James Audubon lived and worked, were created by a spectrum of artists—from fine-art painters to graffiti artists—and are the result of a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and Gitler &_____.

In 2019, at the initiative of Jill Fairchild, Albert Halaban was commissioned to document a selection of these murals before—given the transient nature of street art—they begin to fade or disappear. Albert Halaban’s resulting photographs place the murals within the context of the community, reminding us that birds and people coexist, and that we both need a healthy environment in order to survive.

Like the murals themselves, the exhibition serves as a fresh way to bring attention to a critically important conservation crisis. More than 350 species of birds pass through New York City each year, seeking out scattered patches of the city’s greenery. Yet Audubon’s new climate report shows that two-thirds of North American birds are vulnerable to extinction because of climate change.

“I thought there should be an artistic and documentary record of the murals, and an exhibition, because these murals are ephemeral, soon damaged by weather or graffiti, and to spread awareness about the project, and the fragility of our bird population. Many of these birds are now endangered species,” remarked Jill Fairchild. “Our lives are enriched by the diverse beauty of birds, and their song. So now, let us celebrate the birds of Harlem.”

Works featured in this exhibition are available for sale, with proceeds benefiting the National Audubon Society and supporting Aperture’s publishing and public programs.

For more information about the Audubon Mural Project or to sponsor a future bird mural, visit

This exhibition is made possible with the generous support of Jill Fairchild.

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