Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why Orchids Belong in an Art Museum

For more than 20 years the Smithsonian Gardens annual winter orchid show has usually alternated between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the U.S. Botanic Garden, which collaborates on the event. This year, the annual winter show of tropical color is being staged at an art museum. Art and sculpture have long depicted the ornate, exotic petals of the orchid, dating back to the ancient Greek and Chinese. But the show titled “orchids: A MOMENT” with its odd capitalization, is instead inside the distinctive rounded walls of Washington, D.C.’s home for cutting edge contemporary art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. On a 14-foot shelf installed along the concave curve of the interior lobby glass, up to 100 plants display the dizzying variety of orchid species and hybrids.
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