“Itapema Chaise”- designed by Hugo França, 2013. Made from pequi wood. 43.3” H x 86.6” W x 49.2” D. Approximately 441 lbs.
Mona Lisa (Photo by: Klaus Enrique, courtesy Rebecca Hossack Gallery)
Jessica Rath is neither a pomologist nor a horticulturalist. She's not even particularly fond of eating apples. The Los Angeles-based artist's interest in apples is, as she says, purely philosophical. With photography and ceramics, Rath has produced a body of work that looks at the beauty, diversity, and existential dilemma of the apple: how do apples propagate, and how do varieties survive?
A squash and a cucumber cast dark shadows on a sill. Above, a pomegranate and a cabbage are suspended by a string against a deep black background. A sense of tension builds—a slice has been cut from the melon, suggesting the recent presence of an absent actor; the exposed fruits are displayed like targets. Finally, a bullet blasts through the scene and the pomegranate explodes into hundreds of seeds and red flesh. The obliterated fruit, still hanging from a string like a public hanging, careens from the impact in slow motion.
To celebrate the season, botanic gardens and conservatories decorate their collections with lights, ribbons, and sculptures. From Washington's glowing grapes to Nevada's illuminated cacti, gardens feature their emblematic plants as well as the always-lovely poinsettia.
Bellevue Botanical Garden Bellevue, WA
In 1936, New York's MoMA curated an exhibit in which the artwork wasn't displayed on walls or in glass cases. It didn't need dusting or polishing. Nope, all the pieces needed was a little watering and a high ceiling for their six-foot-tall purple spikes. The museum was showing new delphinium varieties, hybridized by Edward Steichen.
In 17th century Europe, horticulturalists began opening their gardens to plants from around the world. Plant explorers were forging into new botanical territories—inlets in South American waterways, crevasses in China's mountains—and returning with roses and fruits, orchids and lilies. Exotic plants were traded, cultivated, and illustrated. Previously, botanic illustration was largely produced for medical texts and herbals.
When I first encountered an image of dandelion seed heads suspended from the ceiling in a small white room, I was conflicted as to whether I wanted to know more. The implausibility of the scene was part of its charm—would the logistics of the piece unravel its sublime reverie? I should introduce this piece with a spoiler then: here, we tell you how it's done.
"Photosynthetic cuisine needs to be domesticated, at home in people's gardens. As our plants grow more civilized, perhaps they can further civilize us."—Jonathon Keats
Last summer, American artist Jonathon Keats launched a pop-up restaurant at Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum. There were no chairs, plates, or chefs. At the world's restaurant for plants, the patrons were the roses, and the menu was filtered sunlight.
When Ellsworth Kelly debuted in the art world in late-1940s Paris, he launched a career that would become synonymous with bold, geometric paintings and abstract sculpture. But while the museum-public was viewing his panels of saturated color, Mr. Kelly, now 89, was pursuing a second, lesser-known study—drawings of plants. An exhibit of this work, spanning six decades, is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.