Bee Art: Highlighting the plight of the honeybee


After seeing the phenomenal Observation Hive II (a live bee installation by Ali Momeni, Daniel Campos & Jeff Shaw), at the Wood Street Gallery in Pittsburgh last month, I started noticing how many artists were making bees the focus of their work.

Here is just a small sampling:

Terence Koh returns to NYC’s Edlin Gallery on the Bowery with his Bee Chapel (EXTENDED THRU July 29)

The bees occupy a one-and-a-half inch crawl space in the chapel between the interior chamber and its walls, known to beekeepers as “bee space.” “You can see them through the mesh and you can smell them and they’re dropping pollen at you. The hive pretty much vibrates as well,” Koh says. “The idea is I want to be able to resonate with the bees at the same time as the bees are resonating with us.” Beyond the colony’s own humming, which is mic’ed and amplified, similarly themed soundtracks play in each of the spaces.


Burt’s Bees commissions mural in Toronto to raise bee awareness

The mural, by street artist Nick Sweetman whose work frequently focuses on pollinators, celebrates Pollinator Week, the Green Sweat Bee and Toronto for becoming the first city in Canada to receive a “Bee City” affiliation.


The Hive: Sound and light installation controlled by bees in Kew Gardens, London

In London’s Royal Botanical Gardens, a 40 ton steel sculpture by artist, Wolfgang Buttress, towers over a wildflower meadow as an ode to the plight of the honeybees.

The piece was originally commissioned for the 2015 Milan Expo and after winning the Gold Medal, it was reassembled in London. It is fitted with thousands of LED lights and microphones entirely controlled by the vibrations of a nearby real-life beehive inside Kew Gardens. The structure emanates a meditative soundscape composed of bee noises, cello and vocals, which rise in intensity the busier the beehive gets.

“The Hive” will be installed in Kew Gardens until the end of 2017.

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