ARTWORK + > Other of Pearl

Detail from Other of Pearl (The Artemesion Bronze)
Detail from Other of Pearl (The Artemesion Bronze)
Nacre sculptures sustainably grown in rainbow-lipped pearl oysters (Pteria sterna), biomedical nylon and biopolymer 3D prints

Over the course of two years, the artist grew these diminutive sculptures in a highly experimental collaboration with sustainable pearl farmers and the oysters themselves (Pteria sterna). Given a tiny museum of Greco-Roman statuary, the oysters mutated these iconic works into something new—an interspecies artwork. By ceding agency to the non-human, the artist destabilizes the idea of the single-author artwork as the acme of human achievement.

The work also nods towards New York’s deep entanglement with the oyster. Formerly the world’s largest, the oyster beds of this estuary once defined the region’s ecosystem and cultural identity but have been decimated by over-harvesting, dredging and pollution.

Today, project contributor Billion Oyster Project, a non-profit headquartered on Governors Island, is working to restore oysters to New York Harbor, providing benefits to biodiversity and increased climate resilience against storm surge and sea level rise. At the conclusion of the exhibition, works from Other of Pearl will be auctioned to help fund the creation of a new oyster reef, returning wealth “back to the bay.”

Photo Credit: Enrique Arizmendi