Art and science ‘crochets’ its way to Smithsonian

     (PNAN) – Opening Saturday, October 16 and on view through April 24, 2011, in the Sant Ocean Hall focus gallery in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., coral reef conversation is both the topic of talk and view with an exhibition entitled: “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef”. This unique project, developed by Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles, becomes a Smithsonian first of its kind of art and science that artistically engages local communities to help raise awareness about the plight of the world’s coral reefs.

Cochet Coral and Anemone Garden

     “CORAL is pleased to help support this exhibition of the Crochet Reef, as it shares the same principles as our own organizational mission of uniting communities to save coral reefs,” said Rick MacPherson of CORAL. “Sadly these ancient, beautiful, yet fragile ecosystems are dying from rising sea surface temperatures, coastal development, water contamination, overfishing, and other threats. It is absolutely critical that we take action now to increase the number of effectively managed marine protected areas worldwide so that both coral reefs and the communities that depend on them are able to thrive.” Coral reefs are the world’s oldest ecosystem, known for harboring the most concentrated biodiversity on the planet, supporting over 25 percent of all marine species and providing food, coastal protection, and income to one billion people around the world, this show’s objective is to not only educate, but also give rise to the urgency to protect the coral reefs.

     “The reefs that I studied 35 years ago have largely vanished, and most reefs may well be gone by the end of the century, or sooner, if nothing is done to protect them,” said Dr. Nancy Knowlton, a noted Coral Reef biologist.”This project is a stark reminder that if trends continue, an exhibition like this may someday be the only way for people to experience the beauty of coral reefs,” she said.

     The Wertheim sisters, who grew up in Queensland, Australia, were inspired to create the “Crochet Reef” to call attention to the plight of the Great Barrier Reef. In 2005 the sisters began crafting artwork, to help raise awareness of the strong need of protection of the reefs worldwide. On view will be clusters of colorful crocheted corals and other marine life made of yarn and recycled materials. The crafted organisms will combine the mathematics of hyperbolic geometry, the natural complicated forms of corals, sponges and sea slugs, with crochet techniques.

     “Wooliness and wetness aren’t exactly two concepts that you would initially pair together, but now this project reaches across five continents and has roots that extend into the fields of mathematics, marine biology, feminine handicraft, and environmental activism,” said Margaret Wertheim, Director of the Institute For Figuring. “It’s taken on a viral dimension of its own, and in a beautiful way the development of the project parallels the evolution of life on Earth.”

     For more information about this exhibit, see:

Published by on September 2010. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide, At the Museums dept, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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