The Allure of Philodendron

In its forthcoming exhibition spectacular, Philodendron, “a sprawling exhibition that charts the migration of tropical plants from their native habitats to North American and European gardens and interiors,” The Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach traces this stylish and ubiquitous house plant. The opening is Oct. 15.

 

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Curated by Christian Larsen, the exhibit covers three centuries and draws together objects from the Amazon, Caribbean and beyond. “The survey explores this often-overlooked, Pan-American cultural exchange to deconstruct the ‘social lives’ of the plants, from their influence on material culture to their impact on diverse fields ranging from the visual arts, architecture, film and fashion to the agricultural, industrial and medical sciences.

 

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“By following the philodendron from the jungle to the home, the exhibition illustrates the myriad ways the plant shaped Western ideas of the tropics—becoming an evolving symbol for what is exotic, Latin and modern. Philodendron includes objects created by indigenous Amazonian peoples; botanical drawings by Heinrich Schott, who first classified hundreds of philodendron species; and works by such artists and designers as Henri Matisse, Roberto Burle-Marx, Paulo Werneck and Erdem.”


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