Jessica Hunter Larsen wants to bring back the moth.
"Moths get such a bad reputation," says the curator of Colorado College's I.D.E.A. Space.
To that end, she's organizing Parvana, an exhibit opening in October, that incorporates art and science to study not only moths and butterflies, but how the fields overlap in viewing the natural world. It's not that much of a stretch, she says, given that naturalists were trained as artists in the days before cameras, and scientists like Darwin brought illustrators into the field.
In the gallery, expect large-scale prints of moths, specimen-style, and butterfly wings encased in mica and sewn into sheets, creating what Hunter Larsen calls a "lush" and "intuitive, or sort of visceral" feel toward butterflies. Colorado College will also host the Japanese dancing pair Eiko & Koma, who will perform Regeneration, a suite that includes one of their seminal works, White Dance (Moth).
In December, the focus will shift in Strange Beauty: Baroque Sensibilities in Contemporary Art, a multimedia show featuring works by Kehinde Wiley, Jimmy Baker and others. Pieces such as Wiley's depict contemporary urban men (plus '80s and '90s throwbacks like rappers Ice T and Big Daddy Kane) painted as kings, dukes and saints with Baroque styling: high detail, extravagant ornamentation and aloof poses. Others borrow cues like chiaroscuro (bold shadowing to create depth) from Caravaggio, or play on the Baroque's excessive decoration.
Hunter Larsen says the key to this show is the way it draws parallels between the attitudes of the 17th-century Baroque and those of today. The eras, she says, share common ground in the realms of "hybridity" and inhabiting "multiple personas simultaneously." While the Bernini Altarpiece in Rome is unique in its simultaneous nods toward theater, religion, the erotic and installation art, pop culture today thrives on that which translates across many mediums: music to fashion, newspapers to the Twitter-verse.