Corey Arnold – Raccoon Costume

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Corey Arnold, Raccoon Costume (1999)
On view at Portland Art Museum, From Dusk to Dawn: Photography at the Edges of Daylight (Dec. 21 – Mar. 16, 2014)

Corey Arnold’s Raccoon Costume offers a sort of mirror image of the shock we feel when – in the suburbs or the city – we suddenly find ourselves face-to-face with a wild animal. The raccoon and presumably also the human taking the photograph seem to be asking what the other is doing here where they don’t belong. A photo like this is funny and clever but it also seems to be getting at something more serious: as our suburbs continue to spread and as our cities become more hospitable to animals such human-animal encounters are becoming more and more common. Will we learn to better share territory and space with animals?

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