The Newark Museum has a wonderful new presentation — running from 1009-2010 called “Insecta Fantasia” — where bugs are manipulated in aesthetic ways to help bring understanding to nature and history.
For her project, Insecta Fantasia, Angus uses two adjoining rooms in the Ballantine House to create an installation composed of thousands of insects pinned directly to the walls in repeating patterns. In addition, she employs objects from the Museum’s decorative arts collection–small tables, cabinets, glass domes and other objects, on which she will display additional collections of insects. The resulting installation references traditional wallpaper, while at the same time invoking the Victorian aesthetic of taste, clutter and exotica from an age in which travel, exploration and scientific study were immensely popular.
Because The Newark Museum has wide-ranging collections in the areas of both science and art, it has long been the Museum’s priority to find new and innovative ways to bring these two disciplines together in exhibitions and public programs. Insecta Fantasia will be a perfect synthesis of science, art, and history. It will both focus visitors on insect diversity and enable them to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of Angus’ artistic expression. It will also help people understand the richness and immensely interesting variety in forms, size and color in the insect world while bringing them back to a time where collecting, mounting, identifying and classifying insects was a common pastime. Through this installation, visitors will have the opportunity to learn both the myth and the science of insects in an exhibition that intersects the fields of art, history and entomology.
We appreciate the modern-day celebration of bugs, but we also hope these memory displays will also in some way be tempered by the real devastation insects have had on the modernization of the Old West as well as the current dangers they pose to people and crops as carriers of disease and pestilence.