Beginning on Earth Day 2019, a temporary, large-scale, site-specific installation addressing resource use and the decline of pollinators was suspended from an atrium skylight in the Mall of America (MOA) in Bloomington, Minnesota, near Minneapolis. Christopher Lutter-Gardella’s Kaleidoscope features a 30-foot monarch butterfly surrounded by more than 300 smaller butterflies; at installation, pulling a cord can activate the wings of the centerpiece.

One of Lutter-Gardella’s goals is to educate audiences on the importance of pollinators and how humans can support their flourishing. “This installation draws attention to the crisis of our pollinator populations and the habitats they rely upon,” he says. “Butterflies are not just pretty insects on which we should dote, but are part of the life-stream essential to our very survival.”

Lutter-Gardella worked with hundreds of volunteers to hand-make each of the 372 smaller butterflies. More than 700 coat hangers, 600 spoons, 800 yards of fabric, and 100 yards of window screen material, along with plastic bags, straws, and other waste-stream items, compose the installation. “I’m hoping that as people look closer, they can understand that it’s made from all these materials that are around them every day that get thrown in the garbage,” says Lutter-Gardella. “I’m hoping the piece really inspires people to think deeper about how we live on earth and how we live in relation to other creatures.”

MOA hired Public Art Review’s publisher, Forecast Public Art, to help commission the installation.

Jen Dolen is a photographer and is on the editorial team for Public Art Review.

Public Art Review issue 59Featured in Public Art Review #59.