In addition to the “Core Collection” of reefs constructed by Christine and Margaret Wertheim, the Crochet Coral Reef project encompasses a community program in which the Wertheim’s work with citizens of various cities and countries to create local “Satellite Reefs”. As of early 2023, 50 Satellite Reefs have been made including in Chicago, New York, London, Melbourne, Ireland, Latvia, Finland, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates. More than 20,000 people (mostly women) have contributed to this ever-growing woolen archipelago. At the end of this page is a chronological list of all Satellite Reefs and their host institutions.
Reefs in the time of COVID
With the world still reeling from the pandemic, several Satellite Reefs were completed in 2022. The Baden Baden Satellite Reef in Germany, the largest-ever, was exhibited at Museum Frieder Burda as part of a museum-wide retrospective of the Crochet Reef project. Satellite Reefs were also presented at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto; the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY, as part of the exhibition Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science; and at the North Carolina Museum of Art, as a component of Fault Lines, which showcased artists’ response to climate change. In 2023, two new reefs are underway: the Austrian Satellite Reef at the Schlossmuseum Linz, and the Pittsburgh Satellite Reef at the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Local Satellite Reefs
If your organization would like to start a Satellite Reef, please send us an inquiry. Some reefs are gigantic, others small and intimate. Some involve a few dozen participants, others engage thousands. The first Satellite Reef, in 2007, was in Chicago, hosted by the Jane Addams Hull House Museum and the Chicago Humanities Festival. At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, 900+ people contributed from all 50 US states and a dozen other countries. At the Museum Kunst der Westküste on the island of Fohr off the coast of Germany, over 700 citizens across Germany and Denmark participated. Far-flung contributors send in their models by post. In Dublin, a reef was hosted by the Science Gallery at Trinity College, Ireland’s foremost academic institution, while in Melbourne, the project was enacted at the Burranja Cultural Center, which serves women subject to domestic violence. In the UAE, the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute hosted a reef constructed around traditional Emirati fishing baskets, and at the Hayward Gallery in London, UK crafters fabricated their reef around a series of giant plaster ‘reef balls’ emulating the concrete structures scientists build to encourage growth at sites of living reef destruction. The largest reef to date is the Baden-Baden Satellite Reef, hosted by Museum Frieder Burda, for which 4,000+ people throughout the German-speaking world contributed over 40,000 corals.