May 17 - Aug 17 2018
Lennon, Weinberg, New York City
Errare Humanum Est, Perserverare Diabolicum
Concept and Production by Duane Park Studios, New York
Brass, Gouache, Wood, Paint, and Aluminum.
A number of months ago, Joe Zito, with whom I have had a long standing professional and personal relationship, asked me to be in an exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg in New York City. He built 14 beehives to standard specifications, customizing 4 himself through various aesthetic interventions and giving the remaining 10 pine wood constructions to artists that he hand-picked.
The latin title for the piece we designed is a quote from the 1st century philosopher Seneca, which translated reads: “ To Err is Human, To Persist in it is Diabolical”, a direct challenge to the international companies that continue to produce chemical agents that are destroying the earth’s flora and fauna. The intention was to turn the beehive into a conceptual coffin, highlighting the chemicals that form the lethal components behind the matrix of bee colony collapse. Ironically, the 6 sided hexagon that is the fundamental architecture of the wax beehive is also the shape used to draw the very chemical compounds that threaten the lives of the bees. Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam are just two of the chemicals that have been identified as particularly virulent, the compound drawings of which and have been superimposed in gouache over a burnt hexagonal pattern that cover the external walls of the hive. Bronze bees, hand-carved in wax and cast in brass, innocently commune on the hive’s toxic surface. Inside of the hive, a model of a custom-designed bee built as a puzzle of delicate parts, is poised to depart. Common bee yellow has been replaced by alarm code red, indicating a clear and present danger from the chemicals that surround the bee colonies both inside and outside of the hive.
This was all virgin territory for me and I instinctively turned to my own active personal beehive of talent, my immediate family. Walker identified the geometric correlation between the hexagonal shape of drawn chemical compounds and the architecture of the honeycomb. Clayton built the complex laser-cut puzzle out of balsa wood. Nancy painstakingly hand-carved a swarm of bees in wax and had each of them individually cast in brass.
Thank you Nancy, Clayton and Walker for helping me find my way out of a corner of creative paralysis. Being a visual artist, even for a moment, felt like a vertical climb. Respect.
A call to action and activism to limit toxic chemical use and protect bee colonies, something that has already become law in many countries on the European continent, is an implicit message of the work.
Duane Park Studios. 2018
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How Humans Are Messing Up Bee Sex, From pesticides to land development to electromagnetic pollution, humans often harm the ability of honeybees to reproduce. By Elizabeth Anne Brown, Sept 11 2018 - The National Geographic