Jarrett Mellenbruch


a white honeybee house

Jarrett Mellenbruch (b. 1971), "Haven", 2014. Hive Id. # MA01. 216 x 15 x 15 inches, corian, wood, steel, honeybees. Courtesy of the artist Installation support has been provided by those who generously raised their paddles at deCordova’s Party for the Park 2014.

Concerned with the weakening of the honeybee population and the agricultural impact of their decline, Jarrett Mellenbruch has created unique sculptures that create habitats for wild honeybees in the form of an ideal and, self-sustainable shelter. Haven’s structure visually calls to mind iconic images of rural farmhouses, churches, or Romanesque architecture while acting as a refuge for the hard working honeybees. The living sculpture sits on a 16-foot post, placing the bees at their preferred height and implying that the sculpture is for the bees and the sweet honey will remain with them.

Mellenbruch’s sculpture creates a gateway for fine art to intersect with environmental concerns in order to benefit not only an animal species but human agriculture as well, (one third of our food is pollinated by honeybees). Inadequate nutrition, parasites, genetically modified crops, pathogens, antibiotics, herbicides and pesticides are some of the factors to blame for the recent decimation of the honeybee population. Mellenbruch’s response to this problem is within Haven, a nationwide network of the artist’s self-constructed honeybee hives. The artist has a goal of installing 1,000 Haven hives throughout the U.S.

Quick Response (QR) codes are placed by the sculptures and when scanned with a smart phone can be used to gather visitor observations via a short survey as well as inform and educate viewers on Haven’s mission. The survey results collected via the QR codes will be used to help researchers learn more about the health of the wild honeybee population and combine with the honeybee hive sculptures to create a community of amateur and professional beekeepers and ecologists.

Haven’s place at deCordova’s sculpture park will mark not only Haven’s first installation outside of Kansas City but also its first installation within a museum setting.

More information can be found at: http://deepecologyproject.com/haven/

Jarrett Mellenbruch holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the Maine College of Art. He teaches at The Kansas City Art Institute, and University of Missouri-Kansas. Mellenbruch lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Kansas City, MO. Mellenbruch’s work has been featured in numerous galleries, as well as at public institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in Portland, ME, and the Kauffman Memorial Garden in Kansas City.

Listen to Jarrett Mellenbruch talk about the sculpture and swarm intelligence.

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