endings and new beginnings

                         link to Denver Art Museum website

     The "last" bird landing, after two years of traveling with the birds, was at the Santa Fe Railyard Park -- the spot that had originally been the inspiration for me to see the birds outdoors.   
How great to be back in Santa Fe, where we started, with friends dropping by!  

     Another fun development was that people started to buy the birds -- over 50 of them flew off to new homes.  Now that I wouldn't need to keep the flock together anymore I loosened my grip -- I didn't want all those pigeons cluttering up my studio...

     But it turned out that one of the people who saw the birds at the last landing was from the Denver Art Museum, and she called the next week to invite them to come land up there outside the museum, in connection with their summer of clay exhibit.   Meanwhile, most of the nicest birds had flown the coup.

    It wasn't a hard decision to start making new pieces, because the truth is, I felt like I wasn't done with the exploration at all, in fact I was just getting started.  I brought the tour to a close because it felt like it was time and my family and I needed a break.  But I didn't really want to stop making pieces.
     So this winter and spring, more than sixty new birds were born.  The form remains pretty much the same (although of course each one is different), but the content has evolved; still looking at war and weapons in relation to the more beautiful instincts and manifestations of people, but trying to stay almost purely visual.  Hardly any words, more drawing, and coming more from my specific point of view as a mother.

     The landings will be the evening of Friday, June 24th, and all day on Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th.  I will also be giving a talk and slide show about the project, at 7:15 pm and 8:15 pm on Friday June 24th.  As part of the "Demo and Do" program of the Museum, I'll be demonstrating silkscreen printing onto clay on Saturday, June 25th, and making a couple of birds on Sunday, June 26th.

Birds in Germany and the Netherlands

Historical Technical MuseumPeenemünde, Germany, with V2 rocket in background

Hello there,

one of the last bird updates:

In July the birds travelled to Peenemünde, Germany, where the V1 and V2 rockets were being developed during WWII, and where there is now an excellent museum. In addition to two days of the birds landing on the grounds there, my father gave a talk during the landing about his experiences as a child in Peenemünde. Many thanks to the museum director Christian Mühldorfer-Vogt and the staff, who welcomed the birds and my family and the film crew for what felt like a very meaningful visit.

We then continued to Den Bosch in the Netherlands. The birds were hosted by the European Ceramic Work Center, another wonderful institution, that engages in experimental work with artists and clay. The flock settled in a park nearby, encountering people from all walks of life, from children to the elderly to the homeless people who lived there.

The "birds in the park" project is hurtling towards its conclusion at the end of September.

This Saturday, August 28th, they will be in Berkeley, CA, at the Civic Center Plaza, next to the farmer's market and coinciding with the Berkeley Music Fest.
And finally, Friday and Saturday, September 24th and 25th, they will return to Santa Fe to land at the Santa Fe Railyard Park, with a last short appearance at the Santa Fe Art Institute on September 30th, when there will also be a lecture/slide show about the project -- 6pm at Tipton Hall -- for those of you in the area, it would be great to see you.

This has been an amazing two-year journey, traveling with the project and meeting so many people -- Thank you for coming along for the ride!

The birds will all be looking for new homes, once they have stopped flying, so please contact me if you are interested in buying one.

All the best to you,

Historical Technical Museum, Peenemünde, Germany, with V1 bomb.

ramp that was used to send V1 bomb.

Historical Technical Museum, Peenemünde, Germany, with V2.

Museum Director Christian Mühldorfer-Vogt, my parents Betty and Werner Hengst, and filmmakers Tom Meffert and Dagmar Diebels, on tour of war-time landmarks (here the former labor camp) in Peenemünde.

Museum Director Christian Mühldorfer-Vogt and my father Werner Hengst during the talk.

Casino Park, Den Bosch, The Netherlands

July 8th, 2010

Dear Bird Watchers,

Some news from New York, where this strange flock landed in three locations.  

First they settled on the edge of the Hudson River, at the Peekskill Waterfront.  Because of a big article in the paper, lots of people came out.
The Saturday after, the birds found themselves at the beautiful Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Gardens, gazing at lilly pads with big fat frogs.
And last Thursday, they perched outside the UN Headquarters in Manhattan where they rubbed wings with diplomats and city folk.  The specific spot they were in was the Ralph Bunche park, New York's designated "Peace Park" named for the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and location of the Isaiah Wall (engraved with the quote "they shall beat their swords into plowshares...")

We are in Germany now, on our way towards Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea.  The birds will be landing there this Monday and Tuesday, at the site of the V1 & V2 rocket development during WWII.  My grandfather was a rocket scientist there at that time, and my father, who was a child then and has not been back since one hour after his house was bombed,  is coming on this trip (together with my Mother).  He will be reading from some of his written memories of that time -- and some of that writing as well as other images from Peenemünde, apear on a portion of this flock.  Tom Meffert and Dagmar Diebels, the documentary film makers, will be there as well.  Here is a link to the Museum site: www.peenemuende.de/index.php?id=135.

we'll keep you posted,
all the best,

Hudson River, Peekskill, NY

Photo: Oliver Hillenkamp

Hudson River, Peekskill, NY

Hudson River, Peekskill, NY

Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Gardens, North Salem, NY

Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Gardens, North Salem, NY

Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Gardens, North Salem, NY

Ralph Bunche Park, at United Nations Headquarters, Manhattan, NY

Ralph Bunche Park, at United Nations Headquarters, Manhattan, NY

Ralph Bunche Park, at United Nations Headquarters, Manhattan, NY

Ralph Bunche Park, at United Nations Headquarters, Manhattan, NY
Hello, Hello!

the birds have had quite some adventures recently, traveling to Washington DC, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

It was great to have the help of videographer Genevieve Russell along for the DC part of the trip (see her blog entry about the project: www.storyportraitmedia.com/blog,)
many thanks for the collaboration of the Environmental Film Festival, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and all the great people we met!

It was also a very rich experience to visit Amherst College and work with Wendy Woodson's Scripts and Scores Class, where the students did some improvised performance with the birds.  

Outside the museum in Brattleboro, VT the birds froze their feathers off but still encountered plenty of interesting people.

Here are some photos, there are more pictures and stories at www.christyhengst.com.  

Wishing you a beautiful Spring,

On the National Mall, Washington DC:

photo: Genevieve Russell

photo: Genevieve Russell

photo: Genevieve Russell

At Dupont Circle, Washington DC:

photo: Genevieve Russell

photo: Genevieve Russell

Upper Senate Park, Washington DC:

photo: Genevieve Russell

Amherst College, Amherst, MA



Outside the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, Vermont:

December 26, 2009


here are a few pictures from recent adventures of the birds.  First, at a gathering at Eric and Mary Lloyd Wright's place in the hills above Malibu, California, and then at the Bosque del Apache Wild Bird Refuge in southern New Mexico -- in both places, making new friends along the way.

hoping that you are having a good holiday time, with friends or family or yourself,

(photos by Maria de las Casas & Helmut Hillenkamp)

in the hills above Malibu:

Bosque del Apache wild bird refuge: