The cool thing about plant reportage* is that you literally see plants everywhere.
Just like last week when I was strolling through the West Chelsea enclave known as "galleryland" and stumbled into Taryn Simon's latest show at Gagosian Gallery.
Tayrn Simon's Paperwork and the Will of Capital combines 12 sculptures and 36 editioned photographs that recreate floral centerpieces from major political meetings.
The whimsical, flower -loving, daydreamer in me imagined experiencing a series of beautiful floral still life photographs on a spring-ish Saturday afternoon, which I did. But as I went more in into the show, I realized that Simon was also presenting some pretty deep petals.
THESE FLOWERS SAT BETWEEN POWERFUL MEN AS THEY SIGNED AGREEMENTS DESIGNED TO INFLUENCE THE FATE OF THE WORLD. -TARYN SIMON
I walked around the gallery and discovered which arrangements sat during crucial moments in world politics. Then I looked closely and noticed that native plants were not often used and wondered why.
I learned that each of Simon's floral arrangements work off of the notion impossible centerpiece, a term coined for Dutch still life paintings that points the finger back at the canvas. The arrangements painted in the 17th century couldn't actually exist in real life (we're talking pre-modern capitalism here) because the flowers themselves could not all bloom naturally in both the same season and location. Simon shows us her modern version of this.
Working with a botanist and obtaining archival records to recreate the centerpieces, she framed the photographs in mahogony to mimic the boardroom. With text signifying the specific moment in political history to the left, Taylor Simon brings the overlooked beauty when two political powerhouses come together to life.
It's hard to choose my favorite arrangement. My 6 year old gallery mate was partial to the single variety carnation centerpiece that sat at the Bratislava Declaration, in Bratislava, Slovakia on August 3, 1968. Runner-up for me goes to the Memorandum of Understanding Better the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Government of Australia Relating to the Settlement of Refugees in Cambodia, Ministry of Interior, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, September 26, 2014- the anthuriums and roses piece, a crowd pleaser and the yin and yang of my existence. But one arrangement spoke to my heart through those deep petals that Simon intended to show. It's below. Go see it and you'll learn why. #itsplantporn
Tayrn Simon Paperwork and the Will of Capital will be on view at Gagosian Gallery from February 18 to March 26, 2016.
*plant reportage: writing about plants.