Beehive Volcano

Notice of Upcoming Content and Access Change

The Museum is working on the future of our online collections access. A new version will be available later in 2023. During this transition period, the current version of the Collections Browser may have reduced functionality and data may be not be updated. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. For any questions or concerns, please contact us.

What is AAT?

The Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) (r) is a structured vocabulary for generic concepts related to art and architecture. It was developed by The Getty Research Institute to help research institutions become consistent in the terminology they use.Learn More

Object Name: 
Beehive Volcano
Accession Number: 
Not on Display
designed in 1979
made in 1989
Credit Line: 
Partial gift of the artist
Web Description: 
Bees, beehives, and the communal industry that they represent are some of the themes of Beehive Volcano. Consisting of three mold-blown glass domes, the sculpture is accompanied by a soundtrack of buzzing bees. Here, Dennis Oppenheim compares the compressed social activity of the hive—and, by extension, any situation in which social behavior is controlled and suppressed—with the potentially explosive force of a volcano. The bright primary colors give the sculpture a playful, innocent air, masking the warning of its political message.
Oppenheim, Dennis (American, 1938-2011), Source
Primary Description: 
Colorless with colorless wrap, transparent colors: amethyst, with green wrap, green with blue wrap non-lead glass, black plastic and cord, portable cassette tape player, cassette soundtrack; blown with hot applications, assembled. Large slightly conical bubble resting on wide end; varies in coloration, size and shape, has lipless opening at top, rest on flattened base with wide roughly-sawn (?) opening, overall body decoration of a thick wrap beginning at top opening and spiraling around body to base; hives have small portable stereo cassette players (Aiwa Super Bass HS-P102) each containing cassette soundtrack of buzzing bees attached to a small Sony speaker (F22C02M-1/8Q D. 2W/K.TONE) placed in base hole of hive, electrical cord snakes out from under glass to adjacent player. Aa) green body with blue wrap, tall and narrow, closely spaced wrap; Ba) amethyst with green wrap; Ca) colorless with colorless wrap, this section is smallest in height but has a wider squat form.
Contemporary Glass Sculptures and Panels: Selections from the Corning Museum of Glass (2008) illustrated, p. 35, 90-91 (fig. 66, plate 21); BIB# 107478