New Mexico Museum of Art

Flower Power: A Subversive Botanical

November 06, 2007


Santa Fe, NM—Flower Power: A Subversive Botanical will examine anti-war sentiments, anti-establishment demands, class realignments, gender divisions, and utopian desires associated with the single petal, daisy flower that was an icon of the 1960s.  

Love-ins, the peace movement, anti-establishment protests and happenings all were united and symbolized by this single flower. The icon resonated with people of all classes across the globe and traveled easily between high art and popular culture. Andy Warhol, for example, used it to create prints destined for galleries and museums and MariMekko design group placed it on household goods created to foster egalitarian, modern living.

In recent years, designers have recycled the iconic flower for adornment on clothing and mass-manufactured goods, and artists have used it for the basis of their art. For example, Takashi Murakami, the Japanese artist/designer, has produced paintings, prints, and consumer products with the flower as the primary element.  The reasons for the revival of the daisy are many, but the flower seems to resurface whenever communal hopes and desires appear to have been abandoned.

The exhibition will do more than draw parallels between the cold war or Vietnam era and today. Rather, it will allow viewers to consider the ways in which the flower serves as a timeless emblem of cultural questioning and a signifier of social change. To accomplish this, well known 20th century artists such as Betty Hahn, Corita Kent, Warhol, and the MariMekko design group will be associated with contemporary artists such as Tim Jag, Murakami, Yumi Roth, and Erika Wanenmacher. The relationships created in the exhibition will allow lesser-known contemporary art the opportunity to be in visual dialogue with better known works.  

In the exhibition spaces, Corita Kent’s anti-war prints will be seen in relation to Erika Wanenmacher’s painting/sculpture of the bombing of Baghdad in which the plumes of smoke have been symbolized with three-dimensional, painted daisies. Relationships will be established between fabrics produced by the MariMekko design group with the one hundred porcelain daisies by Yumi Roth that can be installed in any space to provide decorative enhancement. Tim Jag’s painting/sculpture installation of daisies will be linked with Warhol’s prints to highlight ideas of repetition, abundance, consumption and design.

Warm sentiments and radical desires will be at the heart of this lush exhibition.            

Flower Power: A Subversive Botanical was co-curated by Tim Rodgers and Merry Scully, New Mexico Museum of Art.


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