Every spring for the last 28 years San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museum de Young organizes a very popular event Bouquets to Art. More than a hundred floral designers from all over the Bay Area submit their choices and concepts to a panel of judges who decide on the final list of exhibitors and those chosen then create floral arrangements based on the art in de Young permanent collection.
I love flowers so I’m very surprised I didn’t know about this exhibition until this year. I will try not to miss future events: it was a great experience, both my vSO and I didn’t notice how two and half hours went by.
I’ve never seen so many people in this museum before! It was impressive. Since for this event photography without a flash was allowed sometimes it took up to five minutes to get in the position to take a picture without people blocking something.
Despite multiple flower arrangements in each room the museum didn’t smell like a flower shop. Mostly I could smell other visitors’ perfumes. I wore Chanel No 19 parfum: I wanted to smell nice but not to overpower any possible floral aroma with my perfume. It didn’t. The only room with a distinct floral fragrance in the air was the one with the composition made of thousands of gardenia petals.
The smell was so captivating that I didn’t even think of looking for the art piece which that composition was supposed to represent. All I wanted to do was to smell it closer. So did many other people. I couldn’t find a moment to take a shot without anybody in the picture.
The exhibition was uneven: there were very creative inspirational compositions as well as very literal recreations of the art pieces (including a bucolic scene with a toy size cow or the one with banal lampshades on a table). I won’t spend space demonstrating those that I didn’t like and will focus on those that I think are interesting.
It isn’t easy to choose just several pictures for this post out of dozens I took. I tried to catch both – the composition and the art behind it (literally and figuratively). I wish there were fewer people, better lighting and a tripod.
Chihuly’s glass is created to be reproduce in bouquets!
One of the compositions that impressed me the most was inspired by Willard Leroy Metcalf’s painting Winter’s Festival.
Although appearing nearly monochromatic at first glance, such images reveal Metcalf’s extraordinarily subtle yet inventive use of color. Among the vegetation, vibrant hints of aqua, pink, gold, and even burgundy invigorate the subdued palette and suggest the dormant vitality of the frozen flora. Blue-tinted shadows and underlying traces of violet and lavender remind us that snow, never purely white, admits to endless variation. (Hood Museum of Art)
That description perfectly fits both the painting and the installation.
As I was exiting one of the rooms I overheard a conversation from a group entering that room:
- Look, an infinity symbol!
- Nature, infinity – it’s clever…
From their angle of viewing they couldn’t see that Arthur Tress’ photograph of a donut was an archetype for that composition. When I told this story to a friend who also attended that exhibition, she suggested calling that composition An Infinite Donut.
Images: my own