Garden Diary - May 2018

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Georgia O'Keeffe's Hawai'i at the New York Botanical Garden
Part Two -
Paintings in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Art Gallery
and Art Elsewhere in the Garden

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

This is such a multi-faceted exhibition. There is the Hawaiian plants exhibition in the Enid A. Haupt conservatory. Paintings in the gallery and art on the grounds. Let's start at the top, on the sixth floor, then work our way down to the fourth floor, and then outdoors. Come on, it's worth it. You'll see.

A delicate, pale pink hibiscus in the conservatory.

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

An O'Keeffe painting of two hibiscus in the gallery.

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

I think Hawai'i provided O'Keeffe with a richness
of flora and landscape greater than she anticipated.

We find pineapples commonplace in today's grocery stores.
It was different in 1939 when they were exotic rarities.

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

O'Keeffe's painting Pineapple Bud was actually done after she had returned home. Dole Pineapple Company shipped a plant, by air, 36 hours in transit, since she had not painted one while in Hawai'i.

And here is the advertisement in which the painting was used.
You can see an actual magazine on display in the library's rotunda.

On the fourth floor, in the Britton Gallery are a series of display cases featuring Flora Hawaiiensis: Plants of Hawai'i. Each case focuses on a single plant. There are examples of indigenous, canoe, and third wave introduced plants. Each case has a herbarium sheet, archival photographs, and fascinating addenda - a small model of an outrigger canoe in one case, and

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

vintage cans in which Dole Pineapple Company (and others)
offered this rare and exotic fruit and its juice for sale.

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

Since customers might not know what to do with it,
a simple pineapple recipe booklet was created.

The conservatory has beautiful lobster claw helicona,
Heliconia stricta 'Fire Bird' in flower. Very exotic.

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

Misidentified as Heliconia, Crab's Claw Ginger by O'Keeffe,

it is the second painting to be used in an advertisement.

Heliconia continues as artistic inspiration today.
Mark Chai, contemporary Hawaiian-Chinese artist

used the plant in O'Keeffe's painting to inspire his Heliconia Loop,

a monumental, 13-foot, stainless steel sculpture in the reflecting pool.

And wears a 2-dimensional version as a pendant.

Mark and Makana walk down Garden Way, wooden lanterns he designed, their shapes meant to evoke native Hawaiian canoe plants gently shifting in a breeze, the lantern armature's shape echoing the furled shape of a fiddlehead fern.

Origami - not quite. But a delicate folding of wood to shape each lantern.

photograph by Susan Glattstein, all rights reserved

What a wonderful day. I shall re-energize with a bowl from the poke truck.

Open from May 19 through October 28, 2018, you can read more details about the Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions of Hawai'i exhibition here.

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