The Museum of Modern Art presents Pollen from Hazelnut, a pollen field by the conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib, in The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. The work is the artist’s largest pollen-based installation to date, measuring approximately 18 by 21 feet.
Wolfgang Laib (German, b. 1950) created his first pollen field in 1977, and has since collected pollen on a yearly basis, spring through summer, in the forests and meadows near his home in a small village in southern Germany. In a solitary, ceremonial endeavor, Laib manually harvests pollen from one plant at a time.
To present his works, Laib sieves pollen directly onto the floor, creating a ground of radiant color that is at once material and immaterial. Once the exhibition ends, the artist retrieves the pollen, cleans it, and stores it in sealed glass jars. The work at MoMA is the equivalent of approximately 18 such jars. Laib has been collecting the hazelnut pollen used in MoMA’s installation from the natural environment around his home and studio since the mid-1990s. Pollen, a primordial substance as potent as it is fragile, is recontextualized here as a vibrant celebration of life.
Wolfgang Laib's glass jars of pollen are being snapped up by collectors at a cost of about $80,000 per jar.
The Museum of Modern Art Website