The Museum of Non-Primate Art aims to preserve the movements, marks and sounds of non-primate species and consider them, without prejudice, as modes of aesthetic communication, in the hope of gaining new insights into our world.
The Museum of Non-Primate Art (MONPA) is an internationally funded research organization which currently has several branches located throughout the world. It was founded in the mid 1970's by the well known Art Historian and Animal Philanthropist, Dr. Peter Husard. He had long been concerned by the considerable focus on the artistic abilities of primates (notably chimpanzees), while little or no attention had been given to the considerable and varied aesthetic expressions of other non-primate species. In order to rectify this he invested several million pounds to create the Museum of Non-Primate Art located in the Woodstock Mansion on the Esopus Estate near Chichester. Here, he gathered together a small team of zoologists, art historians, art critics and biologists. Their initial studies dealt with the artistic expressions of the mole (tunnelling patterns in cross section), stallions (pyramidic dung piles), and a variety of birds (flying formations as performance art). However, by the early 80's they had become aware of Arthur Mann's ground-breaking work exploring the representational marking ability of the domestic cat. Subsequent work uncovered a wealth of past and present feline marking which necessitated the creation of a separate division within MONPA devoted entirely to the research, curation and preservation of feline art. At present this accounts for about half of MONPA's time and resources but it is envisioned that with the increasing popularity of canine art and the recent comMissioning of equine and pachyderm aesthetic studies facilities, feline art will not hold such a dominant position in the future.
Unfortunately none of the branches of MONPA are open for public viewing as they operate purely as research institutions and do not have adequate funding to enable them to offer exhibition facilities. In its early days the Chichester branch did open occasionally but due to some unpleasant incidents (theft of animal artifacts) this practice had to be discontinued. However, thanks to generous donations from the Philip Wood Gallery in Berkeley, the British Council for Feline Aesthetic Advancement and internet provider Netlink, this online development has been made possible and allows us to show you a few examples of the current and historical works in the museum's collection.
Site design and implementation by Catch 22. Images and text copyright 1999 Origination Trust.