Hilary Berseth, an artist/beekeeper, makes his sculptures by coaxing bees into making their comb in specific shapes. It's no wasp factory, but it's still awfully lovely.
Artists from Rodin to Warhol to Mark Kostabi have outsourced the construction of their work. Hilary Berseth goes them one better: He constructs basic frameworks of wire and wax, then lets teams of tiny yellow-and-black art fabricators finish the job. "I knew they were ordered and regimented," the Pennsylvania artist says about his honeybees, which built the three otherworldly sculptures on view at Eleven Rivington. "I had an intuition that I'd be able to organize that, architecturally."
Berseth's armatures each go into a closed box in the spring, and then the respective colonies take over, filling out his templates with wax cells, then stuffing them with honey. "The last two seasons, I've been working with a beekeeper whose name is Jim Bobb," he says, explaining where he turns for expertise. "He has a graduate degree in mathematics from Berkeley–he's a minor beekeeping celebrity."