Ikebana to Art

So I have this great idea for an exhibit. The de Young museum has their Bouquets to Art, the Asian can do an ikebana show. What is ikebana? It’s the Japanese art of flower arrangement but it’s much more than that. It’s really a disciplined art form using minimalism such that an arrangement may consist of only a minimal number of blooms interspersed among stalks and leaves. The container is also a key element of the composition. It is said that the samurai used ikebana along with the tea ceremony to focus their concentration and gain peace of mind before going into battle. Pair it with some artwork from the museum’s permanent collection or it can just stand on its own and I think this could be a good exhibit, plus a new flower arrangement can be setup after a week to keep it fresh. What do you think?

ikebana

11 Responses to “Ikebana to Art”

  1. xensen  on June 26th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    In the fall there will be a display of orchids around opening week of Emerald Cities. Many of the objects in that show were collected by Doris Duke, who also cultivated orchids, and orchids are appropriate to the show’s Southeast Asian imagery. So there will be flowers in the galleries at that time.

  2. namastenancy  on June 26th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I see that xensen has beaten me to the punch. I think it’s a great idea – pairing two different examples of Japanese art with the art that it was designed to go with. But then, there are few things Japanese that I don’t like although I draw the line at whale meat and mochi.

  3. tuscanycat  on June 26th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Sounds like a good pairing to me, orchids and Southeast Asian art. The museum should take this flower + art pairing thing to another level.

  4. tuscanycat  on June 26th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    I draw the line at whale meat too namastenancy, but mochi with red bean inside is just too good to pass up.

  5. cristina  on June 26th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    The big challenge with any show featuring cut flowers or live plants is preventing the pest problems that tend to follow. However, what about doing a thematic exhibition on flowers and nature in Asian Art? It could include works such as this beautiful 17th century album of flowers of the twelve months by Yun Bing, or for an orchid fix, this screen depicting orchids and rocks by Gim Eung-won.

  6. xensen  on June 26th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    A great specialist on this subject is curator emerita Terese Tse Bartholomew. There is a lovely and informative deck of knowledge cards on botanical motifs in Chinese art that she was involved in preparing. I think it is still available through the museum store.

  7. tuscanycat  on June 26th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Yes, it’s going to drive the conservators nuts but I’d love to see a nature and art pairing sometime. I like your idea too.

  8. sfmike  on June 26th, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Sounds like a non-tacky version of Bouquets to Art. What I really long to see is a Japanese rock garden on top of the first-story roof which you could look at when going up the escalator. Now it’s just a view of an ugly gravel roof and the ugly Hastings University buildings.

  9. tuscanycat  on June 26th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    A rock garden sounds like a good idea. It’s low cost and low maintenance. I say propose it to our director and see what he thinks.

  10. namastenancy  on June 26th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    I remember discussing the roof top issue with somebody at the Asian who pointed out that there might (or would be) weight bearing problems with putting a garden up there. But I agree with SF Mike that it’s ugly. I have an idea – why not hold a competition for a design that could be painted onto the gravel? Or paint a huge Japanese or Chinese character that means art onto the roof? Or sprinkle the roof with a layer of sand and rake it like a Zen Garden. OR stensil the Asian’s logo onto the roof.
    I see that I’ve come a long way from the idea of Ikebana in the Museum but it’s all in the service of beauty.

  11. tuscanycat  on June 27th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I like the design competition to paint on gravel idea namastenancy. A few years ago, we had an exhibit called “Spaces Within” and one of the artists, Michael Lin, painted some floor decoration that covered most of north court. He can probably do the same thing with the gravel roof.


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