Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut will inhabit the Museum’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, infusing the space with a yellow luminosity. Laib perceives the Marron Atrium as the Museum’s inner sanctum, its womb, and has created this work especially for the site. It will be the artist’s largest pollen installation to date, measuring approximately 18 x 21 feet. The hazelnut pollen that will be used in MoMA’s installation has been collected by Laib from the natural environment around his home and studio, in a small village in southern Germany, since the mid-1990s.
Since the mid-1970s, Laib (German, b. 1950) has been producing sculptures and installations marked by a serene presence and a reductive beauty. These works are often made from one or a combination of two materials, accumulated from natural elements—such as milk, marble, pollen, rice, and beeswax—which have been selected for their purity and symbolic associations. Forging a singular path for more than 30 years, Laib amplifies the intrinsic materials and processes found in nature. Laib has stated that “pollen is the potential beginning of the life of the plant. It is as simple, as beautiful, and as complex as this. And of course it has so many meanings. I think everybody who lives knows that pollen is important.”