PICK! ASR Event ~~ “Bouquets to Art” Exhibit Can Delight You — And Take Your Mind Off Bad News

By Woody Weingarten

After years of watching installations become increasingly architectural and less floral, this week’s “Bouquets to Art” exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco gets back to basics — bouquets.

They’re nearly everywhere: Jumbo ones. Tiny ones. Ornate ones. Elegant ones.

I’ll posit there must be a bouquet somewhere in the 113-piece exhibit to please even the biggest sceptic, so long as he or she can revel in intricate floral arrangements and classic pieces of art.

Noovobloom, Alan Do Richard Mayhew, Rhapsody, 2002. Photo by Randy Dodson, © Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any whimsical creations, any weird designs, or any befuddling fabrications. There are. Just not as profuse as in pre-pandemic years.

Your delight may well begin in the main lobby, Wilsey Court, where — below an overhanging series of bouquets that’s sweet but hardly as overpowering as past displays — a group of five manikins are gaily decorated with colorful flora and leaves that have been transformed into gowns (and, in one case, a veil of flowers).

Staring is mandatory.

Midweek visitor appreciates large bouquet in de Young Museum exhibit. Photo by Woody Weingarten.

So is smiling.

…Those installations, it’s reported, were concocted by students from the City College of San Francisco…

It’s also impossible not to appreciate an installation that stands in front of a painting of a repugnant man, piano, and house — no matter which angle you look at it. The slightly scary yet whimsical floral creation of a critter from some black lagoon, in fact, is a perfect example of what the event started out being almost four decades ago: An exhibition of bouquets inspired by the art pieces before or next to which they stood, artworks that have been part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Photo — the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

During the decades, however, florists and designers veered from that concept, using more metal, wood, and other non-floral materials in their living statuary. More interesting sometimes. Occasionally more fun. But they never smelled better than old-fashioned bouquets.

This year is fascinating, too, in that more than a few bouquets feature a variety of painted or, well, gilded lilies. It’s hard to think of a better place to spend a few hours. It’s hard to think of a better place to spend a few hours. It can truly take your mind off the week’s headlines!

Photo — the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

A caveat: You need to hurry to see this year’s fund-raising exhibit, the 39th: It runs only through June 11. If possible, it’s suggested that you go early in the day — foot traffic is skimpier then. Traffic into the museum’s underground garage, however, may be a different story. Midweek, there were serious backups getting in, with docents warning drivers to expect lengthy delays.



** Featured picture courtesy SF deYoung Museum. Photo taken by Gabriela Salazar.


ASR Senior Contributor Woody Weingarten has decades of experience writing arts and entertainment reviews and features. A member of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle,  he is the  author of three books, The Roving I; Grampy and His Fairyzona Playmatesand Rollercoaster: How a Man Can Survive His Partner’s Breast Cancer. Contact: voodee@sbcglobal.net or https://woodyweingarten.com or http://www.vitalitypress.com/

TitleBouquets to Art
Production DateThru June 11th
Location Addressde Young Museum

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden

San Francisco
Telephone(888) 901-6645
Tickets$25 to $40
Reviewer ScoreMax in each category is 5/5
Aisle Seat Review PICK?YES!