Viruses at Artomatic 2012

While on a business trip to Washington DC I took time to visit Artomatic 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. Artomatic is a month-long festival of over 1,000 artists who create visual art, music, performance, film, fashion, and more. I went because Forrest McCluer was showing his work there – he makes models of viruses from computer parts. We have featured his work on the science show This Week in Virology, most recently on episode 184. Forrest alerted us to the exhibit of another artist working with microbe themes, Michele Banks, and I went to see her work as well.

Forrest was showing AdenoCD virus, a model of adenovirus built from compact discs. Below are some photographs of the showing. Clicking them will load a much larger version.

adenoCD virus
AdenoCD virus at Artomatic 2012

adenoCD virus

adenoCD virus

In the image below you can see how Forrest distinguishes the subunits around the five-fold icosahedral axis (pentons) from the other capsid subunits (hexons).

adenoCD virus

Forrest has made a number of virus constructions from computer parts, as described on this poster which is part of the exhibit.

adenoCD virus

Below is the computer virus transport module – a crate used to carry the sculpture to the exhibition.

adenoCD virus crate

I signed the guestbook – but there were no more virus cookies left.

Visit Forrest’s website to learn more about why and how he makes sculptures of viruses. A gallery of his sculptures can be found here.

adenoCD virus

Michele Banks‘ work was exhibited on the same floor. Michele is a painter and collage artist based in Washington, DC. Her pieces are based on scientific and medical themes. She is not a scientist, but loves and is fascinated by the natural world, especially at the microscopic level.

These photographs do not do her work justice; there are much better images on her website.

Petri dishes 7
Petri dishes 7 by Michele Banks


Love and Death: Viruses
Love and Death: Viruses by Michele Banks
Portrait of a human
Portrait of a human by Michele Banks

The next day I purchased ‘Beautiful But Deadly 4’, a watercolor painting of viruses (image below). Michele brought the painting to ASM headquarters where I was working, so I was able to bring it home. It’s a wonderful collage of viruses that would look great in the TWiV Studio (my office at Columbia University Medical Center).

Beautiful But Deadly 4 by Michele Banks
Beautiful But Deadly 4 by Michele Banks

Do you know other artists who create art based on microbes? Please add a comment so we can develop a list of these individuals here at virology blog.

6 thoughts on “Viruses at Artomatic 2012”

  1. Thank you Vincent so much for stopping by Artomatic and seeing our virus exhibits.  Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of what was on display.  Oh, and sorry that I ran out of the adenovirus cookies.  Here is a photo of what you missed.

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