Brandon Ballengée’s Love Motel for Insects

Art meets nature and moths at the “Love Motel for Insects”, Brandon Ballengée series of installations. Celebrate National Moth Week by visiting two of them: one in Washington DC and the other in NYC (see below).

Urban Art Projects (UAP) is thrilled to introduce exciting new programming inspired by the desire to bring to the public participatory art projects involving science, technology and the environment. UAP’s first large-scale project in this vein is The Summer of Love 2012 featuring citywide installations by artist /scientist Brandon Ballengée. Each installation in this project is titled “Love Motel for Insects”. People and insects of all stripes will be drawn to the enormous glowing luna moth, the first Love Motel for Insects installation that will soon be in the sculpture court, generously donated by Jim Kempner Fine Art, at 501 West 23rd Street.  Please stop by to engage in this interactive black light sculptural exhibit that offers a bold scientific and artistic inquiry into our urban ecology.  Free and open to the public Tuesday – Saturday from 10am to 6pm and occasional evenings from June 9 through August 4 2012.  Free and open at all times to local moths, beetles, etc.  Butterfly Project NYC will plant native flowers at the base of the sculpture to create important insect habitat. The public need not hesitate as Ballengée has assured us that the structure will not lure many mosquitoes, ticks or other insects that bite!

Mock-up for Ballengée’s “The Love Motel for Insects” to be installed@ 501 West 23rd, space generously donated by Jim Kempner Fine Art. Image courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Love Motel for Insects is an outdoor sculptural-light installation by Brandon Ballengée utilizing ultra-violet lights to attract insects and to create an opportunity for public interactions with nocturnal arthropods, which are not often seen. Versions of Ballengée’s black-light sculptures have taken place in diverse environments worldwide: each sculpture is site-specific to each unique community and ecosystem. Additional Love Motel for Insects locations to be part of the Summer of Love 2012 include Drew Gardens, located in the South Bronx, and Cross Hill Academy in Yonkers. Each of these sculptures is based on one tiny “scale” from the wing of the luna moth, a species indigenous to NYC. Details about other locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan will follow as sites become finalized.

Love Motel for Insects various iterations have been extensively covered by the media as well as referenced by academia. Brandon Ballengée’s artwork is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts,where his exhibition “Collapse: The Cry of Silent Forms” will be on display May 5th – June 16th. Ballengée’s work has been reviewed by numerous art critics for mass publications such as the New York Times, Cornerhouse, etc; other media coverage includes features on PBS, ABC News, BBC and NPR. Ballengée’s work is in numerous public collections including The American Museum of Natural History in New York, NASA in Washington D.C., Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England, and the Yale Peabody Museum.

In addition to being a worthwhile project artistically. The Summer of Love 2012 has the added benefit of supporting what many have articulated as an urgent call for improvements in science education. Ballengée’s project excites youth and the public about science, based on their direct experience with the sculpture. UAP looks forward to contributing towards this important educational and societal goal by bringing Brandon Ballengée’s public art project, “Love Motel for Insects”, to New York City for The Summer of Love 2012!

Urban Art Projects (UAP) is a non-profit and 501(c) 3 whose overriding mission is producing public art projects. Extensively covered by mainstream and art-related media, UAP’s projects have included public art exhibitions installed on the New York City waterfront featuring, among others, internationally known artist Swoon. UAP is excited about its new programming bringing to the public participatory artworks involving art, science and technology.

Funders and others that have helped to make The Summer of Love 2012 and Love Motel for Insects possible include: Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The National Audubon Society’s TogetherGreen Initiative with Toyota, EcoArtSpace/SEE, Jim Kempner Fine Art and various private donors via Kickstarter and otherwise.  The Love Motel for Insects is also sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council, Inc. (BAC). The Love Motel for Insects is also made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

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