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Artist uses thousands of exotic bugs to create masterpieces at Museum of Fine Arts

Artist Jennifer Angus has a new installation of nearly 5,000 insects at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For many, the thought of being in a room full of bugs fills them with fear or discomfort. But, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg has a new installation that's exactly that.

Artist Jennifer Angus has a new installation inspired by Aesop’s most known fable called “The Grasshopper and the Ant, and Other Stories."

“This is an exhibition that benefits from (slowly) looking at multiple visits,” said Erin Wilson, Curatorial and Registration Assistant at the museum. “There are so many things to unpack and see and discover."

Angus uses exotic insects from around the world to construct what she calls “insect wallpaper.” There are about 5,000 insects used in the exhibit in St. Petersburg.

“(She uses) exotic dried insects to create these phenomenal, larger-than-life designs, which really draw you to noticing the beauty of these creatures, their colors and the delicacy of their wings,” Wilson said.

Angus explores the museum she is working with for inspiration before doing the installation. She not only explores the collection that is on view, but she looks what’s in storage as well. 

For the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Art, her inspiration came from a 20th-century painting by illustrator Frank Schoonover.

“When you enter the gallery you enter into this black hallway that actually narrows as you walk through it,” Wilson said. “And, this is just setting you up to really appreciate the scale of the big gallery. It's a very immersive experience.”

The exhibition will run through January 5.

For more about the exhibition and related programs, including next a "BugsGiving" culinary event Nov. 15 and an artist lecture with Jennifer Angus Nov. 16, click here.

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