January 19, 2012
It is not uncommon these days to come across an installation of a young artist complete with the cursory gesture of the placement of an overly-considered potted plant - usually derided in my eyes as some sort of counter-balance to the generic minimalist neutral hued rectangular forms which staidly take up space.
These images though hark back to the days where the foliage was not necessarily part of the art but part of the atmosphere. Carefully cultivated plants used to litter the Walker Arts Center, sometimes appearing so out of place it makes you wonder if they were not 'planted' there by rogue Intervention Artists.
It does have an interesting effect however - some of the photos grouped together from the Walker Archives could be mistaken for foyers and waiting rooms of upper crust lawyers. It is also rather fascinating how the presence of the plants seem to fulfill the absence of an audience in most of the images - they take on a sort of personality, having heavy handed critiques in corners, or sidling up to a painting for a closer inspection of the brushstrokes.
Just like ash trays in libraries and Benson & Hedges sponsoring cricket, I can't see pot plants in galleries making a comeback in the near future. However, I will be moving into a new room this weekend, giving me the space and the opportunity to install a few artworks by friends I picked up last year, alongside a well placed potted plant to keep them company.
more images and a little background info about 'Plant as Decorative Element in a Gallery' on Off Center.