Now at SLAM

March 9, 2008 § Leave a comment

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Flowers imitating art?

(This floral arrangement aims to reflect the painting on the left. Sorry for the lack of color; flash wasn’t allowed and the place was so crowded, I couldn’t fiddle with my camera’s settings and resorted to “point and shoot.”)

Floral arrangements are twisted, plumped, bowled, wired, framed and fanned and placed on pedestals strewn throughout the various wings of the three floors of the St Louis Art Museum. They aren’t there to freshen the place nor to perk things up amid the dust and decorum of centuries of art work.

These flowers are Art.  The arrangements, tersely labeled Art In Bloom, are done to imitate specific pieces of artwork. Local and interstate gardeners and clubs, federated and otherwise, draw a masterpiece from a hat (so to speak) and get to work designing something more than froth to indicate, symbolise, suggest the artwork named on the paper they drew, stuff that’s in the museum, from bowls and vases to house-size paintings. The concept is more compelling than some of the actual floral work; yet the work is art on its own.

But flowers to imitate art? Yes. Using colors, shapes, “tuck-ins” like buds and wire and woven leaves and feathers and well, stuff, it all comes out very suggestive of what it represents (though in some rooms, we were hard pressed to tell which piece of art the arrangement imitated. But that’s good, too.)

Totally worth seeing. Flowers don’t just die; they live to impersonate art and become somthing else again in their own right.

The show started yesterday and runs through tomorrow. You have to give these flowers total cred for hanging in there with everyone gawking at them for even that long. And the sculpture hall (main lobby) is g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s.  Find a table. Sit awhile.

Applause.

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