Flowers and photography by Flower Craft artist Kristen Alpaugh
On view May 14 through June 26, 2022, Flower Craft investigates floral artistry as an overlooked chapter in the history of craft and design.
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) will present Flower Craft, featuring the creative visions of six botanical artists working at the forefront of contemporary floral design. Inspired by nature’s ephemerality and its inimitable palettes, the artists engage with all stages of the plant life cycle, from seed to germination to decay, to interpret nature in sculptural form. “By design, floral artistry is meant to be more than pleasing to the eye,” said Elissa Auther, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator. “As the artists expand the boundaries of materials and creative expression, they are also in dialogue with a variety of aesthetic traditions, from early modern European still life painting to the eighteenth-century picturesque to the hyperreality of the twenty-first-century digital realm—all of which will be explored in the exhibition.”
Each week a new botanical artist will be featured in the Flower Craft gallery. The artists are:
Kristin Alpaugh is founder of Los Angeles-based FLWR PSTL, a studio whose high-profile clients include Katy Perry, SZA, and Doja Cat, as well as major cosmetic and fashion brands. Alpaugh melds botanicals with various media to tell unique and compelling stories. She was recently featured in HBOMax’s floral competition series, Full Bloom.
Doan Ly, founder of a.p. bio, is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice integrates the fields of floral design, photography, and video. Ly’s work has been published in Vogue Spain, China, and Italy; The New Yorker; The Atlantic; and Kinfolk, among others. Her commercial clients include Moschino, Victoria’s Secret, Carolina Herrera, Zara, and many more. Born in Vietnam, Ly immigrated to the United States at the age of eight and grew up in Minnesota.
Lutfi Janania is a Honduran botanical artist raised on a bioreserve among the rain forest and mountains in San Pedro Sula. His sculptures, comprised of exquisite dry and hydrated natural materials, are surreal, unrealized portraits of the artist’s imagined worlds. Janania was the winner of season two of HBOMax’s Full Bloom and his studio, ROSALILA, is located in Brooklyn, New York.
Noritaka Noda is president of the Ikenobo Ikebana NYC Chapter, as well as the first and only US special professor recognized by the Ikenobo Headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. As a professor of Ikebana, he conducts demonstrations and teaches classes at the Nippon Club. Noda is known for his unusual arrangements, which combine traditional and modern materials in different scales. His clients include American and Japanese corporations, restaurants, retail, and museums.
Emily Thompson is the founder of Emily Thompson Flowers in New York City. Born in Vermont, Thompson earned an MFA in sculpture from UCLA. Inspired by the eighteenth-century theory of the picturesque, she has designed dramatic naturalistic arrangements and installations for the Obama White House, MoMA’s Modern restaurant, Bergdorf Goodman, T Magazine, Jason Wu, and other notable clients.
Manu Torres is an artist based in Portland, Oregon. His floral arrangements often involve a dialogue between the artificial and the natural; incorporating paper, fabric, paint, and feathers to imitate and exaggerate natural beauty in a hyperreal way. His work has been featured in Elle Decor magazine and he was also named by Domino magazine as a top new floral designer to follow. His recent solo exhibition at Russo Lee Gallery was an ArtForum Critic’s Pick.
Alongside the ever-changing floral installations that are the heart of Flower Craft, there will be a curated selection of vessels in a range of mediums, complementing the emphasis on the craft and design of flower arrangement. Artists in this section of the exhibition include Emily Mullins and Jolie Ngo, as well as a video by Cauleen Smith. Titled Flowers for Virtually Nobody, it was filmed during the pandemic and captures Smith creating an arrangement that grows ever larger over the duration of the piece in commemoration of those lost to Covid-19. The exhibition also coincides with MAD’s first-ever “bee residency,” newly installed on the Museum roof. Two hives are now homes for “Queen Aileen,” named for the industrious founder of MAD, Aileen Osborn Webb, and “Queen Toshiko Takaezu,” named for the famed female ceramic artist and dedicated supporter of MAD. The queens are attended by a mob of drones to keep them warm, pollinate, and make honey.
FLOWER CRAFT STUDIO CLASSES, ARTISTS, AND SCHEDULE
During the run of the exhibition, the Flower Craft gallery will function as a studio classroom for MAD’s Flower Craft Atelier taught by the Flower Craft artists, as well as a variety of intergenerational workshops. Surrounded by the extraordinary display of innovative floral design, audiences of all ages and skill levels will be able to explore floral creativity with an inspiring collective of artists and designers.
Flower Craft Atelier: Kristin Alpaugh
Tuesday, May 17, 6–8 pm
The Los Angeles-based botanical artist and contestant on the hit HBOMax series Full Bloom leads a floral-design workshop inspired by the fantastical, color-filled world of her FLWR PSTL studio.
Flower Craft Atelier: Noritaka Noda
Tuesday, May 24, 6–8 pm
Acclaimed Ikebana scholar Noritaka Noda leads a workshop immersion in ikenobo ikebana, an ancient artistic tradition that Noda has famously modernized.
Flower Craft Atelier: Lufti Janania
Tuesday, May 31, 6–8 pm
Winner of season two of the HBOMax hit series Full Bloom, botanical artistJanania leads a floral-design workshop inspired by the sensual aesthetic of his creative studio, ROSALILA.
Flower Craft Atelier: Manu Torres
Tuesday, June 14, 6–8 pm
Botanical artist Manu Torres leads a workshop in his avant-garde approach to floral design inspired by his rock-star Rococo aesthetic.
Floral Wearables with Debra Rapoport
Thursday, May 26, 6–8 pm
Multidisciplinary artist Debra Rapoport leads a workshop in constructing floral headdresses, fascinators, and adornments using recycled materials, paint, and glue.
Family Workshop: Silk Flowers
Sunday, June 5, 10:30 am–12 pm
Learn how to upcycle silk flowers into wearable statement pieces with the community-based nonprofit BloomAgainBklyn and guest floral designers.
Floral Charms with Lē Matthew x Degrade
Saturday, June 11, 2–4 pm
Eco-creative Lē Matthew, founder of Degrade, the experimental slow-fashion label promoting biodegradable materials and textile explorations, will lead a workshop using petals, leaves, and other organic waste sourced from Flower Craft to create personal floral charms.
Giving Back with Blooms
Tuesday, June 7, 2–4 pm
Flower Craft blooms will be repurposed into individual arrangements to be distributed to the city’s most vulnerable during this in-gallery workshop with BloomAgainBklyn, the community-based nonprofit.
Contemporary Trends in Floral Design
Tuesday, June 21, 7–8 pm
A conversation and demonstration with Flower Craft artist Emily Thompson and Nancy Hass, writer at large for T: The New York Times Style Magazine. The two will discuss contemporary trends in floral design with a focus on the philosophical influences on Thompson’s botanical installations. After which, Thompson will demonstrate how she constructs her evocative arrangements.
Blooms in Black and White with Sarah Bedford
Tuesday, June 14, 12–2 pm
Join botanical artist Sarah Bedford, co-curator of Flower Craft and creative director of Bedford & Co, for an afternoon painting workshop using a floral arrangement of your own design. Participants will paint their still lifes using India ink and brushwork on watercolor paper.
The Museum’s free art-making and discussion workshop will take place on select Thursdays from 4–6 pm in the Flower Craft gallery.
A Flower Power Pass may be purchased online and will offer discounted admission to the Museum for $45 (a $108 value) during the run of the exhibition for visitors to experience Flower Craft in its entirety. The Store at MAD will offer fresh bouquets by celebrated New York city florists Anthony Brownie, Kat Flower, Petal, and Julia Testa, as well as floral inspired, handmade products from a global roster of artists.
Flower Craft will be highlighted on the Museum’s newly launched mobile guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The app platform is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ longstanding commitment to supporting digital innovation in the arts. On the app, visitors will be able to listen to the exhibition artists describe their process, watch video of the installations as they are created on site, and sign up for classes and workshops.
Flower Craft is curated by Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator Elissa Auther and Sarah Bedford, founder and creative director of Bedford & Co.
Flower Craft is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the Museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum’s curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, and fosters a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design. For more information, visit madmuseum.org.