The Murmur of Bees

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Object Name: 
The Murmur of Bees
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 111.7 cm, W: 274.3 cm, D: 91.4 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
Throughout his career, Michael Rogers has admired and been inspired by the life’s work of the Bohemian father-and-son glassmakers Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, who created thousands of scientifically accurate models of botanical specimens and invertebrates using glass worked over a small torch, paints, and wire. The Blaschkas spent about 40 years making glass flowers for Harvard University. During a renovation of the gallery devoted to the flowers at Harvard, wood and glass display cases were discarded. Rogers acquired one of them, and he made a work about the natural world in honor of the Blaschkas. For The Murmur of Bees, Rogers engraved and painted images of bees and their anatomy that he copied from 19th-century illustrations. On the inside of the case, white cotton, quilted in the form of a honeycomb by Rogers’s wife, Bette, reflects the shadows cast by the engraved images. Five silver bees, cast from real bees, sit inside the case. Bees are symbolic of royalty, wealth, industry, and obedience. The impression of Rogers’s sculpture is that of a busy, silent, and ghostly hive, which may be interpreted as symbolic of nature or society. However, it may also be understood as a work about the environment in its reference to the recent deaths of hundreds of thousands of bees from colony collapse disorder. Stamp under case from manufacturer reads “MFD BY / DANIELS. S. JOHNSTON / 4 MERRIMAC ST. / BOSTON.” For more information on Michael Rogers’s work, see Susanne K. Frantz, The Other Side of the Looking Glass: The Glass Body and Its Metaphors, Redding, California: Turtle Bay Exploration Park, 2003, pp. 32–35 and 54.
Rogers, Michael (American, b. 1955), Source
under case stamp is from original manufacture
Primary Description: 
Sculpture, "The Murmur of Bees". Vintage wood and glass display case, engraved, applied lampblack; embroidered fabric, silver. The glass panels have engraved and applied decoration of bees and related images. 5 cast, silver bees decorate the surface.
Corning Museum of Glass 2007-04-01 through 2007-10-21
West Bridge Show
Field Guide to Underwater Models (2016) illustrated, back cover, center; BIB# 160866
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2009 (2010) illustrated, pp. 62-63, #43; BIB# AI79879
Recent Important Acquisitions (2010) illustrated, p. 118; BIB# AI79772