Creepy Crawlies Become Art at Academy of Natural Sciences

pinned academy of natural sciences

Two works from Christopher Marley: (L-R) “Walking Weevils” and “Walking Leaf Variations.”

An upcoming exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) seeks to prove that there truly is beauty in everything — even bugs.

“Pinned: Insect Art” is a joint exhibition between the Academy and artist Christopher Marley, who has collected critters from around the globe and turned them into vibrant mosaics that really are quite stunning. More from a press release I received from ANS:


Despite the inspired artistry and beauty of his work, Marley, who lives in Oregon, wasn’t always so taken with bugs. He has described them as “ugly creatures.” But once he looked at them from a designer’s perspective, he saw their unique utilitarian beauty. So profound was his new appreciation that he felt the need to share it.

The goal of Marley’s work is to create a balance between his design and nature’s design. When the insects are arranged purposefully, it removes them from nature in a way that they can be viewed more objectively. At the same time, they are still natural objects. Marley’s wish is to illustrate and honor the luminous beauty of the once-living creatures that sometimes get a bad rap.

The Academy's part in the collaboration is to show guests the more functional side of insect collecting. It'll display a small portion of its nearly 4 million research specimens that "are used by researchers around the world to help solve problems involving diseases, agriculture, pollution, and climate change." Spectators will learn all about that, and the work that goes into storing and preserving all those creepy crawlies.

Pinned opens August 9th — the same weekend as the Academy's annual Bug Fest — and will be on display through November 9th. For more information, go here.

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