New Chelsea art show
all about saving bees
BY GABE HERMAN
A Chelsea exhibition by local artist Judi Harvest explores
the world of bees, including their important
role in pollinating plants for the global food supply,
the ongoing issue of their disappearance in large numbers,
and raising awareness of the need for their preservation.
“SEED” opened in early February at David Krut Projects,
at 526 West 26th St. The exhibition includes oil paintings
and sculptures that were made with expert glassmakers in
Judi Harvest is a Chelsea resident who has been fascinated
with bees since colony collapse disorder, and the importance
of bees in the ecosystem, gained more attention in
Harvest also spends time in Venice, where she has had
many shows over the years, and in 2013 she realized a parallel
with bees and the struggles of the glass blower industry
in Murano, an island of Venice.
Handmade glassmaking has declined in Murano do to
imports of mass produced items, Harvest noted, and a factory
there was losing most of its jobs. “Wow, this is the
same thing happening to the bees,” Harvest recalls saying
at the time.
She conceived of the exhibition as a way to bring attention
to nature and the factory, working with Murano glassblowers
to create sculptures of bees, honeycombs, fruits and
seeds of all types. “This project was amazing and really
worked,” she said.
The project also included making glass jars into honeycomb
shapes, using hexagonal chicken wire to form
the glass. Buyers of the jars also get honey with it, which
comes from bee colonies Harvest has set up, and which are
replenished every year.
The exhibition first ran in Venice, then went to Miami.
The objects were then brought to Harvest’s Chelsea studio,
which is down the hall from David Krut Projects. In a happy
accident, people from the gallery noticed the artworks and
that led to the show, Harvest noted.
Harvest had several hives on the roof of the Chelsea building,
but the bees’ health started to decline, especially after
the nearby Hudson Yards development was built, Harvest
said, and they went back to a home in Connecticut. “I really
miss them,” Harvest said of the bees, who she would talk to,
and sold some of the honey at Union Square.
The glass objects in the exhibition have three sections:
Past, Present and Future. Past and Present are based on
items from the garden Harvest started just next to the Murano
glass factory, an ongoing project since 2013.
The Past sections includes various types of plants, seeds
and honeycombs. Present includes fruits and vegetables,
but Harvest says they are also a comment on our current
food industries, because beneath the colorful surfaces, there
may be chemicals or pesticides in food. “Who knows if everything
we’re eating that’s organic is really organic, which
The SEED exhibition includes oil paintings
and glass artworks. (Judi Harvest/David Krut
Objects in the Present section.
is what this Present case
is about,” Harvest said.
The Future section
features clear, “frozen”
versions of plants and
seeds, and came from
Harvest’s interest in a
seed bank in Norway
which stores over
850,000 types of seeds.
“People have to protect
seeds, because if they
don’t this whole natural
balance we have will be
gone,” Harvest said.
Oil paintings in the exhibition includes a look at honeycombs
The Future section has clear, “frozen”
in different seasons, and homages to the waggle
dance, used by bees to communicate important information
like the location of flowers and water.
Harvest’s love for animals has gone into her work beyond
just bees. In 2001, she did a show based on rhinos and
particularly their endangerment because of the market for
their horns. She also used glass in her rhino show, along with
making glass pillows for a show about dreams.
Harvest said there is a magical quality to working with
glass, and one that relates to environmental issues. “The
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
Artist Judi Harvest at the SEED exhibition.
PHOTO BY GABE HERMAN
Honey Vessels lined up at the show.
Glass artworks in the Past section.
essence of glass is fragility, and the medium
is the message,” she said.
Her next show will include bats and
their pollination of plants at night, to
complement bees in the daytime. “I think
this exhibition is just the perfect link into that,” Harvest said
of the upcoming bat show.
Harvest said there were parallels with bees and the
teamwork with glass makers that it took to make the bee
“One honeybee alone can’t accomplish anything, one
artist now can’t accomplish anything. It takes a team,” she
said. “I love to have something that’s meaningful and brings
awareness when I do my work.”
More information about the exhibit can be found at
18 February 20, 2020 Schneps Media