Last week, Pratt Manhattan Gallery launched “Nectar: War Upon the Bees”, a timely visual essay exploring the far-reaching consequences of today’s greed-driven food production industry, and its impact on bees. The show examines the disruptive effect current practices have had on the beloved species, threatening their role in the ecosystem.

money talks, lucia, madrid, installation made of rice and beans

The references of the participating 9 international artists are wide-ranging: Artist Luis Fernando Ramirez Celis’ synthetic honeycomb structure references sci-fi fiction novel Walden 2, while Suzanne Anker’s colorful and eye-catching piece Twilight takes its cues from the bio art and Romanticism movements. Anker’s carefully arranged seeds, nuts and foodstuffs gently but decidedly point toward a fearful future of degraded and genetically modified agriculture. The poignant imagery of the phrase “Money Talks” displayed cleverly in rice and beans in Lucia Madriz’s floor piece drives home the show’s interest in not only unethical, “faster, bigger cheaper” food production but also its inequitable distribution.

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Curated by Berta Sichel of Bureau Phi Art Projects, the show calls to mind Edward Goldsmith and Robert Allen’s linking of the concepts of “art and sustainability” as outlined in their pivotal paper A Blueprint for Survival. That 1972 report warned that the very life-support systems we rely on are in danger.

Notably, Sichel’s show not only urges the eye to travel but also raises consciousness. Viewers are invited to take action through the handouts on Friends of the Earth’s Bee Action Campaign and other practical information that are provided at the show.

Catch “Nectar: War Upon the Bees” from December 9, 2016 until February 11, 2017.

Photos: Jennifer Lauren and Juan Manuel Rios Villanueva