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saxophone parts assembled to resemble a bird

What do these stuck-together saxophones remind you of?

When Willie Cole was asked to make art for the Kansas City airport, he thought of one of the city’s most famous jazz saxophonists: Charlie Parker, nicknamed “Bird,” who wrote a song called “Ornithology.” That inspiration led to this birdlike sculpture. Small prototypes of the sculptures, made from toy instruments, are also on display. How did Cole (and the team of musicians who worked with him on this project) transform instruments into animals? What part of the instrument are the beaks made from?

About the Artist

“There’s knowledge in this art, but there’s also illusion here.” —Willie Cole

New Jerseyan Willie Cole, who calls himself a perceptual engineer, has spent decades experimenting with found objects: from irons and ironing boards representing the women of his family (employed as domestic workers) to plastic bottles used to craft chandeliers.