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Mike Bianco: Activist, Artist… Curator of Bees

An upcoming interdisciplinary symposium at the University of Michigan reflects the passions of its lead organizer, Mike Bianco (MFA '15): art, sustainability and bees.

As an MFA candidate at the Stamps School of Art & Design, Mike has pursued an ongoing investigation into the culture of bees and the relationship between his artistic practice and environmental degradation.

“Since I began graduate studies here, I’ve been working through the idea of humans "working with" rather than having "power over" nature,” Mike explains. “I was immediately attracted to the beekeeping community and what bees have to teach us about cooperative and communal living. It occurred to me, though, that I don't want to be a “beekeeper.” I think this title has the capacity to imply a master/servant relationship to the bees. I want to care for bees - I want to give them space to work, to conduct their alchemy of manipulating materials, and support the important work they do - the same work that I feel art curators should do for contemporary artists. So that's how I arrived at calling myself a curator of bees.”


Working with UMBees, (the U-M Beekeepers Association), Mike is now “curating” a day long series of talks on April 11th that he hopes will facilitate cross-disciplinary conversations around how creatures can live with and learn from one another. Legendary beekeeper Michael Thompson and Ohio-based “living sculpture artist,” Amy Youngs will be attending.

Read more about Mike’s artistic explorations around bees and sustainability. Mike’s MFA thesis work will be on display at Slusser Gallery from March 13th - April 4th as part of the 2015 MFA Thesis Exhibitions.

For more information on LIVING WITH, a day of interdisciplinary talks focused on the subject of living in harmony with both human and non-human living beings, visit the SNRE site.