“Who can resist the allure of the butterfly?” That’s the question Louisiana Art & Science Museum curator Elizabeth Weinstein boldly poses, and it’s also the thought behind “Flutterby: Butterfly,” now on display in the museum’s Colonnade Gallery.
Drawing from the institution’s dual emphasis, Weinstein chose to feature a creature that has inspired artists, poets, writers and scientists for centuries.
The exhibition pairs striking photo collages with actual butterfly specimens, both from local sources. Baton Rouge artist and photographer David Humphreys captured images of several species and magnified the scale to produce vivid oversized works of art. “The results really show off the butterflies’ detail and intense color to great advantage,” says Weinstein.
For real-life examples, Weinstein turned to the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum, a collecting and research facility at LSU. “LSAM maintains over a million specimens but is not equipped to deal with a lot of visitors,” Weinstein says. “The collaboration between us helps us both to carry out our educational missions.”
Among the specimens on display is a grouping that shows the five stages of metamorphosis, as well as a sampling of species found in Louisiana.
An accompanying planetarium show, Flight of the Butterflies, will play through May 31. The film follows the monarchs’ migration journey over thousands of miles to their winter hideaway in the mountains of Mexico. All planetarium shows are now included with general admission.
“As young children, we recognize the butterfly by its fluttering wings, its elegant beauty and its process of metamorphosis,” Weinstein says. “Yet the butterfly’s fleeting life span is also readily acknowledged … we recognize that no matter how beautiful and glorious life can be, it is never long enough.” lasm.org