Wild About Warhol

Selby Gardens Finds the Flowers in Pop Legend Andy Warhol's Work for a New Exhibition

The Flowers in the Factory show will be on exhibit at the gardens in 2018.

By Kay Kipling April 24, 2017

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Flowers, color silkscreen on paper


Sarasota Magazine’s Andy Warhol-inspired “Best of 2017” party at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (tonight, April 24) will be the usual fantastic opportunity to indulge in food, drink, services and entertainment from the winners of our annual readers’ and editors’ picks in a multitude of categories. But it will also be the first official, public announcement of the gardens’ upcoming Andy Warhol exhibit, Flowers in the Factory, debuting Feb. 11, 2018, and running through June 30.

The tie-in between the party theme and the exhibit is clear enough: Pop icon Warhol and his work. What may surprise garden visitors next year will be the interest that Warhol (known for soup cans and celebrities to most) had in the natural world.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, a young Andrew Warhola visited the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and did some early drawings there of its flowers. He maintained an interest in nature throughout the years, often depicting landscapes and plants in his work. Says Selby’s public relations coordinator Mischa Kirby, “We want to explore that lesser-known aspect” of his work in the exhibition.

To that end, four Warhol silkscreens of hibiscus, loaned from Williams College, will be on view. They are part of the original series of 10 flower silkscreens produced by Warhol in the mid-1960s. In addition, two Warhol poinsettia prints (originally created as holiday gifts for friends) will be on loan from Sarasota private collector Flora Major. Archival photographs depicting the artist in nature will also be on view.

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Another of Warhol's Flowers, color silkscreen on paper


And, as has been the case with 2017’s popular Marc Chagall, Flowers and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams exhibition at Selby (which continues through July 31; read here), the gardens’ horticultural team will enhance the art on view with living displays throughout the grounds that, when juxtaposed with Warhol’s work, emphasize his trademark designs and use of repetition. Kirby says that, as with the Chagall show (which was accompanied by a food truck proffering crepes and other French delicacies), there will be a food component to the Warhol exhibit, too (chipped ham, pierogies and Primanti Brothers sammiches, anyone?).

Returning after curating the Chagall exhibit will be Dr. Carol Ockman, the Robert Sterling Clark professor of art history at Williams College; she and Selby will be planning other events and talks around the Warhol show as well.

The Warhol show is the second in the Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series, designed to combine nature and fine arts. For more about this and other shows at Selby, visit selby.org.

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