nybg

just opened:

Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life

The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY

first solo presentation of Kahlo’s work in New York City in more than 25 years, and the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Kahlo’s intense interest in the botanical world. Featuring more than a dozen original Kahlo paintings and works on paper, this six-month engagement also reimagines the iconic artist’s famed garden and studio at the Casa Azul, her lifelong home in Mexico City.

pictured: Frida Kahlo. Self-Portrait with Monkeys. 1943.

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Visit The New York Botanical Garden between May 18 and October 27, 2013 and you’re in for quite the treat. Internationally-renowned contemporary artist Philip Haas has created four huge, 15-foot-tall portrait sculptures that each represent the different seasons. Haas references classical Italian Renaissance portraiture, specifically the works of Renaissance master Giuseppe Arcimboldo, while putting a new twist on his classical forms by blowing up their scale and changing the medium. Two-dimensional painted portraits have now become somewhat crazy-looking three-dimensional sculptures.

Aptly titled Four Seasons, the giant heads have all been created with organic material that’s native to each season. For example, in Winter, the skin is made from over-sized bark and the hair consists of gnarled tree limbs and ivy whereas for Summer, the human portrait is made out of bright bunches of flowers.

The four sculptures will sit in the courtyard of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory facing one another in a square configuration. Visitors are encouraged to walk around and in between the works, taking in the whole fantasy-like experience.

Haas states, “Whether I’m working in painting, sculpture, or film, what fascinates me is the idea of transformation. Through the Four Seasons, I am re-contextualizing the world of classical Renaissance portraiture using the transformative elements of scale, material, and dimensionality, thereby altering the viewer’s perspective.”

The New York Botanical Garden Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President Gregory Long states, “We are thrilled to present Philip Haas’s remarkable Four Seasons here at The New York Botanical Garden. This body of work is ideal for the garden as it speaks to the present, while reflecting on the past. The contemporary forms rooted in the history of art will resonate not only with our core audience but also those passionate about contemporary art.”

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Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and The Women Who Designed Them @ NY Botanical Garden

This Garden-wide exhibition celebrates early 20th-century America’s most influential women in landscape architecture and design as well as garden photography. Experience Mrs. Rockefeller’s Garden in the Haupt Conservatory—an exquisite evocation of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Maine—and through the many exhibition components offered that embrace poetry, music, and photography, discover the innovative work and significant contributions of these women to American history and culture.

Went this weekend and it is worth checking out.  

Mrs. Rockefeller’s Garden (exhibit above, photos via NYBG) was designed by Beatrix Farrand, a well known landscape architect and the niece of novelist Edith Wharton.

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More from the New York Botanical Gardens.  Took a long walk by the Bronx River and spotted a beaver and a bunch of giant (well, 3 ft) fish.  Really easy to forget you’re in the city up there. 

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What’s Beautiful Now?

Spring. I know it doesn’t quite feel like it, given my phone told me earlier in the week that it “felt like” 1°F outside, but the small, sturdy flowers shouldering their way up out of the ground are the best evidence that we’re almost out of these wintry woods.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) are not only dainty and elegant in their simple presentation, but they’re also some of the first flowers to signal the coming season. All around our Perennial and Azalea Gardens these nodding bell-shaped blooms are popping up in crowds. No doubt the Galanthophiles are buzzing with joy.

Elsewhere you’ll find sunny yellow Adonis, and of course the purples and whites of newly opened crocuses. So the next time you’ve got to cinch your scarf a little tighter against the wind, try and stave off your winter blues with the promise of some much greener things to come. —MN