The Birds of America, Plate 321, Roseate Spoonbill Photographs/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Birds of America, Plate 321, Roseate Spoonbill Photographs/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

A dramatic exhibition featuring the life-sized prints from John James Audubon's The Birds of America is now on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Over the course of his lifetime, Audubon traveled thousands of miles throughout the United States and Canada to seek out and draw North American birds in their natural habitats.

In the book's enormous pages -- each more than three feet high -- Audubon captured the full range of avian life in North America, including many exotic creatures. Produced in England and issued in a limited edition between 1827 and 1838, only about 120 complete copies exist today.

The exhibition features prints from the MFA's copy of The Birds of America and some smaller works by Audubon.

The Birds of America, Plate 102, Blue Jay Photographs/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Birds of America, Plate 102, Blue Jay Photographs/Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Audubon was also a gifted writer and the exhibition pairs his birds with his words, offering insight into Audubon's methods, obsessions and the trials associated with his giant project.

The exhibit is on view through May 11, 2014, in the Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery (Gallery LG26). Visit www.mfa.org/exhibitions/audubons-birds-words for info.

Art picks

  • BOOKS IN BLOOM: The Dracut Garden Club and Dracut Public Library have issued a call for flower and book enthusiasts to participate in Books in Bloom. Modeled after the Museum of Fine Arts Art in Bloom, it will be held on Thursday-Friday, Sept. 12-13, at the library. Participants will design a floral or plant arrangement based on a book of their choosing. Entry forms are available at the MG Parker Memorial Library, 28 Arlington St., Dracut.
    Julie Mack, Self-Portrait with Family in Minivan, Michigan, 2007, part of The Kids Are All Right, on view at the Addison Gallery Sept. 14-Jan. 5
    Julie Mack, Self-Portrait with Family in Minivan, Michigan, 2007, part of The Kids Are All Right, on view at the Addison Gallery Sept. 14-Jan. 5
  • WATERFRONT EVENINGS: As summer winds down, there is still time to enjoy a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art, located on the Boston waterfront and enjoy free admission on Thursday evenings. As an added attraction, the museum offers Harborwalk Sounds, free concerts by Berklee College of Music students every Thursday 6-8:30 p.m. Upcoming concerts include Cocoa Jackson Lane performing gritty soul with roots and reggae on Thursday, Aug. 15; the Christian Li Group, performing original compositions, Aug. 22; and Sirma + Lillia Betz and Gossamer, with original and improvised sounds, Aug. 29. Harborwalk Sounds will move indoors when it rains. Visit www.icaboston.org or call 617-478-3103 for info on other events being held here this summer.
  • FALL ART AT ADDISON: The Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover features several new shows opening this fall. Flash Back -- November 22, 1963, on view Sept. 1-Jan. 12, 2014, commemorates the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination with works of art that appropriate, manipulate and occasionally distort images that document the time. James Prosek: The Spaces in Between, on view Sept. 1-Jan. 5, features paintings, watercolors and other items that highlight Prosek's worldwide travels. Prosek is the Addison's artist-in-residence this fall. Natural Selections, on view Sept. 7-March, 2014, features works of art from the Addison's permanent collection in which artists explore their relationship with the natural world. Finally, The Kids Are All Right, on view Sept. 14-Jan. 5, 2014, features photography and video created in the last 10 years by 38 established and emerging artists who reveal with sensitivity and openness the notion of family in the 21st-century. Visit www.addisongallery.org/exhibitions for more information.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.