Collection Artwork
2016 20 213 pr w01
Frank Moore (New York, New York, 1953 – 2002, New York, New York)
drawing for "Beehive" by Frank Moore and Jim Self
c. 1984-1985
gouache on paper
19 5/8 x 13 1/4 in.
Gift of the Gesso Foundation
2016.20.213

Object Label

“The story is essentially an ill-fated liaison between a drone and a worker bee set against the busy, colorful, frantic, sometimes harsh, often comic life of bees in the hive and surrounding fields. There are flowers, weeds, a butterfly, a cactus, an enormous queen, several drones, and scores of worker bees. [ . . . ] ‘Beehive’ plays upon the classical, and at times sexual, symbolism inherent in the pollination of beautiful flowers and the structure of a complex ‘urban’ society.”
—Unsigned letter on Beehive Project stationery

Beehive is a film and ballet developed by painter/designer Frank Moore and choreographer/dancer Jim Self from 1981 to 1987. Bees—who naturally dance to communicate—lend themselves well to performance. Moore’s scientific interest in bees and plants blended with Self’s desire to add “funk” into a dance world focused on abstraction and minimalism, resulting in entirely original imagery and movements.

Many of the drawings on view are designs for the first full stage production of the work, performed at the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, France, in 1985. These working drawings show ideas both in early stages of development and others true to the final costumes and sets.

From the exhibition: Beauty and Bite (July 20, 2019 – January 19, 2020)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

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Beauty and Bite
Exhibition
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Jim Self on Beehive
Interview
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