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Insects are turned into art at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

Posted at 9:52 AM, Jan 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-03 10:34:26-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Insects as art? You heard that right—‘The Grasshopper and the Ant’ and Other Stories as told by Jennifer Angus is an installation at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), St. Pete that utilizes more than five thousand real insects!

This exhibit was inspired by a painting in the MFA’s collection, one that depicted the grasshopper and the ant from Aesop’s Fables. The exhibit is exclusive to the MFA, but artist Jennifer Angus has been working with bugs for over 20 years. This is the largest installation of her career.

“Her background is in textile design, and when she started working with insects, she really wanted to meld her interest in design with her interest in these really beautiful creatures,” said Erin Wilson, Curatorial and Registration Assistant for the museum. “She’s created this immersive space where you can walk in and really experience firsthand how beautiful and exciting insects really are.

There are four galleries that make up this installation:

  • The Ants Pantry—read the fable and see the painting that inspired it all and check out Angus’ collection of jellied insects.
  • The Garden—take in the textile wall pattern created with insects and feel like a small ant in a vast garden.
  • Animal Dinner Party—see how animals of all shapes and sizes come together to enjoy a feast, a whimsical scene inspired by the tea party from Alice in Wonderland.
  • Cabinet of Curiosities—the 170 drawers in this cabinet feature surreal vignettes of insects in various environments and scenes. Drawer demonstrations are done daily at 1 p.m. and there’s always something different for viewers to see. Also check out the vintage typewriter cases with insects illustrating the Seven Deadly Sins.

Each gallery gives the viewer something to consider, whether it’s a question about our society or a moral of the story to walk away with, as well as a collectible receiving card to take home.

Visitors can also learn more about insects and how they affect the world in the Reading Room, full of literature and fun facts. There is also a book of Aesop’s Fables for people to familiarize themselves with tales from their childhoods.

‘The Grasshopper and the Ant’ comes to an end on January 5 at the MFA, St. Pete. General admission is $20 with discounts for seniors, military, educators and students. Tickets can be purchased here.