Spiders to Intentionally Run Wild at Museum

Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum is letting its creepy-crawlies have free reign over venue during exhibit
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2022 9:30 AM CDT
Spiders to Intentionally Run Wild at Museum
Stock photo of the Rijksmuseum, in Amsterdam.   (Getty Images/NickNick_ko)

At one of Europe's most famous museums, life is definitely imitating art until early next year. "The museum is teeming with animals this season!" promises Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum in its promotion for "Clara and Crawly Creatures," its new exhibit focusing on insects and other creeping creatures, such as snakes and toads, as well as how humans perceive them, per Reuters. Among the smaller exhibits on display as part of the larger one include one featuring 700 giant ants, a 1505 painting of a stag beetle created by Albrecht Duerer, and a sculpture crafted out of silk woven by four different spider species, reports the Guardian.

And it's the creator of that latter piece, Tomas Saraceno, who's convinced the Dutch museum to revere its resident bugs, especially the spiders, as long as the exhibit is in place, including letting all spiderwebs alone and allowing the arachnids and insects to roam free around the premises. "Saraceno challenged us to acknowledge the spiderwebs that we are already cohabiting with in the Rijksmuseum," Julia Kantelberg, assistant curator at the museum, tells the Guardian. "Three months before the exhibition opening, cleaners were asked not to remove spiders and their webs."

An open letter defending the "invertebrate rights" of the museum's creepy-crawlies has been written by Saraceno—an Argentine artist who now works out of Berlin, and who lets spiders have the run of the place at his own home—and placed next to one of the webs that has emerged during those three months. "Spiders have been on the planet [for hundreds of millions of] years and we humans only 300,000," he notes. "We have asked the museum to stop treating them as pests, and the museum has agreed in a beautiful manner to stop brooming them away." "Clara and Crawly Creatures" will run at the Rijksmuseum from Friday through Jan. 15. (Read more Rijksmuseum stories.)

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