Art in Bloom: the colors, the shapes and the smells of art at the MiA: April 27-30

Cloudy day be damned, there’s plenty of color to see and good scents to smell at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ annual spring delight – Art in Bloom. For one weekend, the gallery invites florists and other artists to deign floral arrangements inspired by works from the permanent collection. More than 100 flower-artists participate. Many of them are on hand at any given time to tell you about their art or just keep the work fresh. (Imagine artwork you had to water.)

A few tips if you plan to go. It’s free and it’s crowded. Lots of strollers, lots of canes, lots of folks who linger forever right in front of the picture you want to take. If mobility isn’t an issue for you, be kind and plan to park a few blocks away. Do not drive in front of the MiA if you can help it. Drop off is slow. If mobility is an issue, there’s kind drop off and valet service at the front door. But it’ll be a minute. There’s a coffee shop in the lobby and generally easy to find places to sit for a minute to rest.

I went for about 90 minutes when it first opened. The smell in the halls was worth “fighting the crowd.” There isn’t much of a fight, especially if you can run up the stairs to the third floor and make your way down. The flowers (and florists) are freshest on day one. I took the path of least resistance at every opportunity. Crowded space? I turned around. Tour happening? I eavesdropped until it got slow. I hope to go back again at least once over the weekend.

For me it’s a quick-take sort of experience and so I’ll give quick take on the works I enjoyed today.

  • Temple Lion Censer, flowers by Paul Sternberg. Come on, look at that lion replica. It’s adorable and maintains the regal nature of the original.
  • Mami Wata, flowers by Perry McGowan and Zuzana Menziova. Again the artists have recreated the work but here I think the floral arrangement capture something in the dazed eyes. Plus the pop of color was particularly welcome today.
  • Coat,  flowers byJenPacyga. If it were for sale, I’d be wearing until the petals dropped.
  • St Martin the Beggar, flowers by Dixies Nelson and Nancy McGee. The florist is pictured. Apparently the original work is done on pine so they incorporated pine into the flower. The box was created for her, maybe by her son. I love the mash up of realistic representation morphing into the flowers.
  • Portrait from After the Fall of the Hmong Tebchaw series, flowers by Ceallaigh Smart and Karin Farrington. Here the flowers pull out the elegance and solemnity of the image. Those photos should always have flowers. It heightens the respect for the object of the original art.
  • City Nights, flower by Richard Racine. Again I met the artist. He worked with someone to create the structures that mimic the skyline from the art. Note the submerged flower, mimicking the low hanging moon. The artist had not seen the original work before he planned his work.
  • The flower arrangement against Minneapolis skyline. I’d love to see this at different times during the day.
  • Taigong Wang, Dragon and Carp, flowers by Deborah Rodgers. The florist has captured perfectly the feel of the wave in a work, that seems simple, yet I imagine requires a lot of leaf encouragement.
  • Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva in the Water-Moon Form, flower by Willow Bends & Beauty Flowers. The greenery have the same vibe of calm and relaxation as the original.


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