Smallpox Virus

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Object Name: 
Smallpox Virus
Accession Number: 
2010.2.46 A
Overall H: 25.7 cm, Diam (max): 17.5 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
25th Rakow Commission, purchased with funds from the Juliette K. and Leonard S. Rakow Endowment Fund
Web Description: 
Luke Jerram describes himself as a “color-blind installation artist, who fuses his artistic practice with scientific and perceptual studies.” He creates sculptures, installations, soundscapes, and public art projects that investigate how the mind works, particularly in connection with perception and reality. His approach to artmaking is multidisciplinary, and he uses whatever materials are most appropriate to realize his ideas. His work is inspired by his research in the fields of biology, acoustic science, music, sleep research, ecology, and neuroscience. Jerram created two flameworked and blown borosilicate glass sculptures, Smallpox Virus and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), from his “Glass Microbiology” series for the Museum’s 25th Rakow Commission. “The Smallpox Virus celebrates the 30th anniversary of the global eradication of this major disease, which has killed more people than any other disease in human history,” Jerram notes. “And the HIV represents humanity’s current worldwide struggle.” For the “Glass Microbiology” project, which began in 2004, Jerram worked with the British virologist Andrew Davidson to research the physical structures of the viruses, taking inspiration from high-resolution electron microscopic images and scientific models. With the help of scientific glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones, and Norman Veitch, he created scientifically accurate depictions of notorious viruses and bacteria such as HIV, E. coli, SARS, and, recently, H1N1. Each glass virus takes about four or five months to complete, from inception through research and prototyping to the creation of the final object. The glass sculptures are approximately one million times larger than the actual viruses. “Scientists and artists start by asking similar questions about the natural world,” Jerram says. “They just end up with completely different answers.” Unsigned. For more information, see the artist’s extensive Web site,
Glass Microbiology
Jerram, Luke (British, b. 1974), Source
LW10 / J 4.5
Primary Description: 
Colorless Borosilicate glass; blown, acid-etched, flameworked, assembled. Hollow blown ovoid shape encasing hourglass shape acid-etched to produce matte finish. Colorless glass pieces adhered to exterior of ovoid shape.
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 7; BIB# AI90243
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2010 (2011) illustrated, pp. 6-7, 70-71, #50; BIB# AI86878