Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Wax, Wings, and Swarms: Insects and Their Products as Art Media

Authors
  • Klein, Barrett Anthony
Type
Published Article
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jan 07, 2022
Volume
67
Pages
281–303
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-ento-020821-060803
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Every facet of human culture is in some way affected by our abundant, diverse insect neighbors. Our relationship with insects has been on display throughout the history of art, sometimes explicitly but frequently in inconspicuous ways. This is because artists can depict insects overtly, but they can also allude to insects conceptually or use insect products in a purely utilitarian manner. Insects themselves can serve as art media, and artists have explored or exploited insects for their products (silk, wax, honey, propolis, carmine, shellac, nest material), body parts (e.g., wings), and whole bodies (dead, alive, individually, or as collectives). This review surveys insects and their products used as media in the visual arts and considers the untapped potential for artistic exploration of media derived from insects. The history, value, and ethics of insect media art are relevant topics at a time when the natural world is at unprecedented risk.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times