cath keay copy

Middlesbrough Modern Beehives

Unique Commission by rednile and created by artist Cath Keay.

We welcome you to the opening of Middlesbrough Modern Beehives on Thursday 6th June 2013, 5pm @ mima.

We hope you can join us on Thursday 6th June in the beautiful atrium at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. At 5pm there will be a short artist talk with refreshments and time to view the work until 6.30pm. The exhibition continues until Wednesday 19th June.Keay has constructed four red cedar wood beehives in the form of Modernist and Brutalist architecture from Middlesbrough and Teesside chosen through discussions with local people and archival research. The exhibition will showcase the striking sculptural hives, along with research material and a short film about the project. Limited edition prints by Keay will also be available to purchase in the mima shop. After the exhibition, the hives will be sited and maintained by local beekeepers, groups and individuals, many of whom attended a course ran by Cleveland Beekeepers Association.  A live ‘hive cam’ will also be installed at one of the sites, to further encourage the growing interest in beekeeping and promote awareness of nature in our urban environments.‘As a sculptor I am interested in bees for several reasons; they produce wax, a material used for casting and modelling, and they construct their own architecture. Industrious colonies of worker bees prompt endless metaphorical interpretations of our own society. However, it is the insects’ architectural abilities that particularly interest me: they follow strict building regulations including east-west alignments of new built comb, regular bee-space corridors ensure easy passage, and all constructions show an astonishing economy of material resources. The modularity of modernist architecture has strong parallels in what is required for beehives, to enable empty units (called ‘supers’) to be added to accommodate the growing population. This project also reassesses these structures; their perceived brutalism will be tempered by their change of scale and their re-colonisation by the natural world.’  Cath Keay works from her studio at the Newbridge Project, Newcastle. She studied at Glasgow School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art and Newcastle University. For more information on Cath Keay see websiteWATCH the Middlesbrough Modern Beehive Film here:

Middlesbrough Modern Beehives is supported by Middlesbrough Council, mima and Caddick Construction, through the Percent for Art Scheme.
With thanks to project collaborators; Navigator North, mima, East Street Arts and Saltburn School.
This project was commissioned after an inspirational Factory Night ‘making weekend’ at Dundas House

The wider Factory Nights programme is funded by Arts Council England.

Press Contact: Suzanne at
Images courtesy of the artist.