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Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art

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Beach Museum of Art
Kansas State University
14th St & Anderson Ave
Manhattan, KS 66506


Robert J. Lang: Insect Origami

August 4, 2009 – December 24, 2009

Donna Lindsay Vanier Gallery

This fall the Beach Museum of Art will be invaded by insects – of the origami variety. In collaboration with the K-State Insect Zoo, the museum will host an exhibition of art by noted origami artist Robert J. Lang.

Lang has been a student of origami for over forty years and is recognized as one of the world’s leading masters of the art, with over 500 designs catalogued and diagrammed. His designs are noted for their complexity, detail, and realism. His work combines aspects of the Western school of mathematical origami design with the Eastern emphasis on line and form. In 1992 Lang became the first Westerner invited to address the Nippon Origami Association’s annual meeting. He gives lectures and demonstrations on origami and its connections to mathematics, science, and technology all over the world. He is the author or co-author of nine books, including Origami Insects and Their Kin.

Until the early 1990s, “folders” – as makers of origami are often called – struggled to capture certain details in their creations. Subjects like insects, with legs, antenna, and wings, proved difficult to fold from a single piece of paper. Lang and other origamists have discovered a method for folding insects. They map out where they want to fold legs, antenna, or other details by drawing circles, squares, and hexagons on a flat sheet of paper. Lang said that after mapping the shapes correctly, creating the insect is a simple matter of folding on the lines. Lang has found that he can fold just about anything with his technique, even scorpions with anatomically correct legs.

“I have always had a soft spot in my heart for insects. They are fascinating creatures and the most challenging to create with origami,” Lang says. “I start with a concept and break it down. I develop crease patterns to create the whole. I do it by following my intuition.”

The exhibition has offered a special collaborative educational opportunity for the Beach Museum of Art, the K-State Insect Zoo, and the Sunset Zoo. With funding from an Arts-in-Education grant from the Kansas Arts Commission, kindergarten through second grade USD 383 students will be able to visit all three institutions in a single day at no cost, with bus funds available. Students will learn about insects and their life cycles, investigate the cultural and artistic history of insects and use geometry skills to create origami bugs, write poetry, and learn about insectivores. For more information contact Senior Educator Kathrine Schlageck, senior educator.