Insects As An Art Medium


Scene from the exhibit: “In the Midnight Garden”
Photo: Roy Blunt

Modern art uses many media for creative expression in addition to traditional media such as paint, metal and clay. The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC is displaying the work of Jennifer Angus who uses insects as a medium. Her exhibit, “In The Midnight Garden” features insect specimens pinned to a wall in compelling patterns.

Angus works from a collection of over 30,000 insects and plans her designs using computer images.  For the current exhibit, 5000 insects were meticulously placed on the walls of the gallery after first coating the walls with carmine, a dye made from cochineal scale insects.

Insects as an art medium can be permanent if the art is enclosed in protective case that excludes insect pests such as dermestid beetles. Unprotected specimens have a limited lifetime before they degrade and lose body parts. For those interested in promoting public awareness, this exhibit exposes views to the rich biodiversity and stunning beauty of the insect world.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Insects As An Art Medium

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