Posted on 05/03/2021 at 09:08 AM by Adrienne Gennett
Nanoparticle from the "Glass Microbiology Series", 2020
Luke Jerram (British, b. 1974)
Commissioned by University Museums with funds from the Joyce Tomlinson Brewer Fund for Art Acquisition.
In the permanent collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2020.51
Currently on view in the Recent Acquisitions exhibition at the Brunnier Art Museum through July 23.
Nanoparticle Recent Acquisition
by Adrienne Gennett, curator
The creations of British artist Luke Jerram are interdisciplinary in nature, through his use of materials and the collaborative nature employed to develop each work of art or public installation. Jerram has become well-known for a range of installations that have garnered worldwide attention including his "Glass Microbiology Series". He began to develop this continuing series in 2004, working with virologists and scientists to fully understand the nature of the viruses and bacteria he was exploring through glass sculpture. Using colorless borosilicate glass, and in conjunction with scientists, he has created unique sculptures that represent a range of viruses and bacteria that have impacted the world. Each blown and lampworked sculpture is around one million times larger than the actual virus but is made to authentically represent the nanoparticle on a large scale to the public. Jerram has made sculptures of the HIV virus, SARS, E. coli, and continues to experiment with new viruses, bacteria, and more.
As part of the Art on Campus Program for the newly built Nanovaccine Institute at Iowa State University, located in the Advanced Teaching and Research Building (ATRB), Jerram was commissioned to create new editions of viruses, bacteria, and the vaccines he has worked with before, along with a completely new and unique design of a nanoparticle vaccine. The commission includes examples of viruses and bacteria the Nanovaccine Institute is working with to develop successful nanopartical vaccines against - Swine flu, E. coli, and COVID-19. The new commission, paired with of editions of three designs previously made by Jerram, depicts the contemporary research and vaccine development being performed by the department. In the final installation, each nanoparticle will be paired with the virus or bacteria they work against. The Art on Campus Collection and program works to seek out artists for commissions that suit the needs and interests of the faculty and students who will inhabit the spaces where the public art is installed. Jerram and his Glass Microbiology exemplify how science and art can complement each other and work together to visually represent scientific ideas.
Luke Jerram, artist, with a large Swine Flu glass sculpture.
Image courtesy of the artist.