Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageBeautiful glass microbes exhibited in New York

By Tim Sandle     Feb 10, 2013 in Entertainment
A stunning collection of blown glass sculptures, exquisitely capturing some of the most deadly viruses and bacteria, is to go on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
The glass figurines are the work of British artist Luke Jerram. Luke Jerram began work as an artist in 1997. His earlier works included large scale public engagement artworks, such as the street pianos installation 'Play Me, I'm Yours'.
The images created include deadly bacteria, like Escherichia coli:
Glass representation of the bacterium Escherichia coli
Glass representation of the bacterium Escherichia coli
Luke Jerram
E. coli is is a rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine and responsible for many cases of food poisoning.
And viruses. The virus sculptures are approximately 1,000,000 times larger than the actual viruses. For example, with a virus called an enterovirus:
Glass representation of enterovirus
Glass representation of enterovirus
Luke Jerram
Enteroviruses are often found in the respiratory secretions (e.g., saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) and stool of an infected person. Poliomyelitis (polio) is the most significant global disease caused by these types of viruses.
The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art has now acquired many of Jerram's images and they will be on permanent display.
An example is with the virus responsible for swine flu:
Glass representation of the swine flu virus
Glass representation of the swine flu virus
Luke Jerram
Jerram has been creating glass representations of microorganisms since 2004. His reason for doing so is captured in a statement written by the artist: "Made to contemplate the global impact of each disease, the artworks were created as alternative representations of viruses to the artificially coloured imagery we receive through the media. In fact, viruses have no colour as they are smaller than the wavelength of light. By extracting the colour from the imagery and creating jewel like beautiful sculptures in glass, a complex tension has arisen between the artworks’ beauty and what they represent."
The creations are not only designed to look pretty, they are also created to be accurate representations of the microbial world. Jerram designed the sculptures in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol, using a combination of different scientific photographs and models.
Look, for example, at the depth and representation of the malaria parasite:
Glass representation of the parasite that causes malaria
Glass representation of the parasite that causes malaria
Luke Jerram
For comparison, here is an electron micrograph of the malaria parasite (a simple animal called as Plasmodium):
Electron micrograph of the malarial parasite Plasmodium
Electron micrograph of the malarial parasite Plasmodium
University of Berkley
Jerrma's work has appeared in the scientific and medical press, including the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, and Nature.
The reviews of Jerram's work have been very positive, both from the scientific community, and from the art establishment. The new display in New York provides an ideal opportunity for the general public to see Jerram's translucent artworks close-up.
The final image selected is of the HIV virus, the causative agent of AIDS.
Glass representation of the HIV virus
Glass representation of the HIV virus
Luke Jerram
More about Microbes, Museum, Glass, New york, Metropolitan Museum of Art
More news from
Entertainment Video
Latest News
Top News