Saturday, February 25, 2012

New York in Bloom 2012, day two

This afternoon, I went back to New York in Bloom, the New York State Museum's annual after-school program fundraiser. I decided to start my explorations at the point yesterday's excursion ended: one of the entrances to the New York Metropolis gallery, which focuses on the history of New York City. Owing to my choice of entrance point, I ended up exploring the gallery in reverse chronological order (with a few detours here and there), which is not how I usually approach museum exhibits. However, it's always good to mix things up a bit.

Donald Judd's untitled 1968 sculpture was a gift to the state from Governor Nelson Rockefeller. At present, it sits at the northeast entrance to the New York Metropolis gallery. Linda Knipper of the Capital District Iris Society used mums, daisies, caspia, cushion mums, button mums, leather leaf, ruscus, limonium, and fern to create a complementary arrangement.

The New York State Museum holds Sesame Street's original set, and its distinctive brownstone stoop has a spellbinding effect upon small children. I didn't want to disturb the young devotees who were thronging this exhibit, so I wasn't able to capture most of the superb arrangement that David Johnson and Tammy Jobmann of the Pawling Flower Shop created. However, I was able to photograph their superb Oscar the Grouch. Oscar was always my favorite Sesame Street character, and this Oscar is made of some of the following flowers: spider mums, carnations, seeded eucalyptus, sheet moss, gerbera daisies, wax flowers, daisies, lilies, solid aster, roses, larkspur, laurel, bear grass, Italian ruscus, liatris, button mums, bells of Ireland, tulips, and iris (flowers not pictured are featured in other parts of the arrangement)

I really like this arrangement, which sits in front of a shuttered newsstand situated a few feet away from a 1940s subway car. Connie Strong Wilbur of the Bethlehem Garden Club's composition consists of hypericum, chrysanthemums, monstera leaves, steel grass, miniature calla lilies, and snapdragons.

This stunning array of red roses, red anthurium, aspidistra, foliage, and red ti leaves sits at the entrance to the Black Capital: Harlem in the 1920s exhibit. It was created by Steve Dominiak of Surroundings . . . .

. . . . and it harmonizes beautifully with the coat of the woman at far left.

I'm not quite sure why I like this arrangement, which was created by Michaela Manchester of Felthausen's Florist and sits next to artifacts documenting the African-American press, but I do. It contains ginestra, gerbera daisies, spiral eucalyptus, tulips, bells of Ireland, myrtle, coffee leaf, brazillia, hypericum, and roebellini.

Simple, yet unbelievably dramatic. Mike Jones of Bill Doran Floral Company used blue hydrangea, striped aspidistra leaves, and lily grass to create an arresting arrangement in an exhibit documenting life and work on the South Street Seaport.

New York is a coastal state, and as a result whales are our largest mammals. Stephanie Elicia Powers used green trick carnations, tree ferns, ti leaves, Spanish moss, Vielkenfrieden delphinium, Queen Anne's lace, and bear grass to create an arrangement that harmonizes with the Atlantic right whale skeleton that occupies a prominent position in an exhibit focusing on New York City's relationship with the natural world. (Do you want to know how museums prepare whale skeletons for exhibition? Check this out -- but not while you're eating.)

Susan O'Brien Nicholson of the Garden Club of Kinderhook created a small arrangement of limonium, carnations, muscari, thistle-erynguin, and pachysandra that sits next to a display of 19th-century bicycles.

This sweet little arrangement of daisies, carnations, mums, pussy willow, and bear grass complements a display focusing on outdoor recreation. It was created by Tamika Mottley of the Troy YMCA.

This arrangement, which was created by the City of Albany's gardening crew, is polarizing. It brings together thistle, blue lace flower, calla lilies, tulips, daffodils, asparagus ferns, delphinium, daisies, Peruvian lily, curly willow, succulents, impatiens, daffodils, wandering Jew, and sweet potato vine -- and a discarded tire, crushed soda cans and water bottles, a tattered takeout container lid, and other trash commonly found on urban streets. Some people were repelled by it, and others loved it. I'm firmly in the latter camp. It perfectly complements the adjacent display panel, which details how plants and animals establish toeholds even in the most man-made environments, and it serves as a reminder that the natural world is always with us -- even when we fail to appreciate its presence.

I'm a sucker for arrangements that incorporate "archival" material. This arrangement, created by Marcy Corneil and Beverly Goodfellow of the Bethlehem Garden Club, nicely complements an exhibit focusing on immigration. It brings together hypericum, chrysanthemums, monstera leaves, steel class, mini calla lilies, snapdragons, a family Bible, and facsimiles of photographs, passports, and other family papers.

At the center of the New York Metropolis Gallery is an exhibit chronicling the rise of skyscrapers during the late 19th and 20th centuries. I was struck by how well all of the arrangements in this exhibit complement the images and artifacts on display. Anthony Macarelli's simple yet sophisticated arrangement of gerbera daisies, roses, and branches is right at home amid the glass towers of New York City's 20th century skyline.

Emily Shook of Em's Floral Design used curly willow, alstromeria, carnation, and limonium to create an arrangement that harmonizes with Paul Goldberg's painting Robert Moses, which depicts a man who -- for good and for ill -- profoundly altered the built environment of New York City and its environs.

Meg Bugler, who teaches floral design for the Capital Region BOCES, owns Meg Bugler Flowers, and is a member of the Van Rensselaer Garden Club, created the arrangement that sits in front of a huge photograph of the arch in Washington Square Park. It consists of leather leaf fern, ruscus, tree fern, bear grass, pittosporum, spiral eucalyptus, delphinium, snapdragons, and stock roses.

Peter Scranton of the Schenectady ARC used tulips, iris, alstroemeria, asters, limonium, lemon leaf, and curly willow to create an arrangement that beautifully complements an array of 19th century architectural elements.

Tina Marie Smith of the Empowerment Center created an arrangement of roses, ranunculus, and glad leaves that is almost indistinguishable from the collection of 19th century ladies' hats on display in an exhibit devoted to the evolution of consumer culture in New York City.

A closer look at these sumptuous hats. In the background, you can see a 19th-century woman dining at the famed Delmonico's restaurant.

Finally Martha Teumim of the Bethlehem Garden Club created an elegant arrangement of hydrangeas, roses, delphinium, lilies, lemon leaves, and eucalyptus that beautifully complements the adjacent exhibit documenting the lives of New York City's colonial elite.

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