Monday, March 12, 2018

UC Davis Design Museum: "It's Bugged"

When I was growing up, my parents took my sister and me to museums all the time. I even had my birthday party at a science museum one year. We visited museums in the Bay Area, but also when we traveled. History museums, science museums... but never art museums. I honestly can't remember a single time my parents took us to an art museum. It's not their thing. 

I believe I was in high school the first time I visited an actual art museum. I loved it and have visited countless art museums since then. If you look through my US Travel page, you'll see lots of links to art museums that Steve, Trevor and I have visited together. Recently, we went to the Design Museum of our alma mater for the exhibit called "It's Bugged: Insects' Role in Design."


The museum is very small and free to visit. Allow about 30 minutes to see it. According to the press release, "The show explores the two sides of the relationship between people and insects. The first side shows how makers, designers, architects, and artists draw upon nature’s patterns to create beautiful and useful materials and structures, as well as examining the collaboration of humans and insects as producers of raw materials, such as harvested silk and red dye made from cochineals. The outcomes are useful for insects and for people alike, making the relationship complex and compelling."

I'm not sure I agree that harvested silk or red dye made from cochineals is "useful for insects" but I do agree that it is compelling.

Here, Steve and Trevor are examining artwork made with paper from wasp nests. The texture was gorgeous and the patterns so interesting. 


This ceremonial 'singing shawl' from Thailand is worn at funerals. Those are beetle wings knotted to the fringe. They make a gorgeous sound, much like wind chimes, as the wearer moves and dances. They are thought to ward off evil spirits. 


These sashes and belts are from South and Central America, colored with natural dyes, including cochineals. Some of the woven patterns feature insects.


There were a lot of textiles on display, both hanging as fabric and sewn into clothing. 


The exhibit was very interesting and all three of us enjoyed it very much. If you're local, I'd recommend heading to UC Davis to see the exhibit before it closes (April 22, the day after Picnic Day). 

After visiting the museum, we strolled through the hallways looking at the displays of student work. In most cases, there was a sign next to the bulletin board explaining the assignment. It was very interesting to think about how I would complete the same task. These were some of my favorites:




The elevator had a fun design element, too. 


Both UC Davis and the city of Davis are fantastic places to see and experience art. It's very inspirational and uplifting to see art appreciated and even celebrated.

1 comment:

  1. What awesome art!! Of course, being the 'only good bug is a dead bug' person that I am *wink* -- I wouldn't know if I'd be creeped out by this art, or celebrating since these bugs are following my motto! LOL! :) Hope you had a good birthday yesterday!!! :)

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