At the Studio In The Park adjacent to the Queens Museum
Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens
Saturday, August 13, 2016, 3pm-6pm
Wild Flower Boutique: Flushing River/ Dyberry Creek, 2016, installation view – Studio in the Park at the Queens Museum,
assortment of wild flowers, vases and metal buckets, wooden display
Wild Flower Boutique is ongoing project by Kristyna and Marek Milde on the culture, and symbolism of flower giving, exploring ways, how our daily rituals connect to the environmental context. The project addresses the alienation of modern lifestyle from the natural seasonal cycle and reframes modern conventions and decorative use of flowers, while it utilizes uncultivated plants and wildflowers in festive situations and traditions in the place of its cultivated counterparts. In the process the artists gather local plants and weeds, both in the wild and also in the urban and industrial landscapes, to create flower bouquets and arrangements, which are later used in interventions in to cultural rituals and presented in variety of forms that include interactive installations and workshops. While replacing the wild for the cultivated flowers, Mildes review the idea of beauty, the natural and the artificial together with the symbolism of plants and flowers in general, exploring what role its idealized image, representation and cultivated forms play in our traditions and lifestyles. The project responding to a variety of sites and ecosystems is a window in to the overseen and culturally underestimated beauty of plants, presenting a model that can educate and connect our everyday rituals to nature that surrounds us.
Wild Flower Boutique: Flushing River/ Dyberry Creek
The Wild Flower Boutique project has been developed in several parts, which includes initial walks, expeditions and research on plants around the Flushing River, Queens and Dyberry Creek, PA exploring similarity and differences of ecosystems, urban versus rural. The project further evolved in to an installation piece, serving as a platform for a participatory event and workshop on wild flowers and bouquet making open to the public at the Chance Ecologies Studio in the Park located in front of the Queens Museum. The installation had a form of a street florist stand, with bouquets in vases and buckets filled exclusively with wild flowers, similar to the common flower displays that can be found on the sidewalks or subway stations in the New York City. The participants were encouraged to bring uncultivated plants of their choice to the workshop or utilize those from the installation that has been foraged along Dyberry Creek by the artists to create their own wild flower bouquets and arrangements. In return the participants were asked to share an image of the bouquets once used for decorative display at home or given away as gift. Artists also conducted several interventions on site by using the wild flower bouquets. The flowers became part of the institutional face of the Queens Museum as they were displayed at the Museum’s Admissions front desk. Wild bouquets has been also offered as a gift to celebratory occasions taking place in the park in front of the museum, such as to a newly wedded couple and to a photo session of two young girls celebrating their Sweet Sixteen.
In the Wild Flower Boutique we want to confront the fact that most flowers we encounter, either in a form of bouquet, or as a graphic image, are cultivated versions and representations of the original wild flowers forms. We are interested in introducing wild flowers as decoration and bouquet giving in to variety of every day situations and festivities, to recall and activate awareness for environment inherent to the traditional cultures, whose survival depended on sensitive use and knowledge of wild flowers. While flowers function as a social mediator, we think using them in the wild form instead of cultivated may bring different symbolism, in to our rituals, pushing them closer to honesty and allowing to express emotion and sentiments without refinement and pretence in a more candid way. As wild flowers today rarely find a place in to the vase on table, our project proposes a model of flower giving that can educate and teach about nature and ecology synchronizing important events of life with the seasonal cycle.
Wild Flower Boutique has been developed during the Studio In The Park Residency: Chance Ecologies at the Queens Museum in August 2016. This six-week-long artists residency program was curated by Catherine Grau and Nathan Kensinger and organized by Chance Ecologies in collaboration with Queens Museum and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation located in the unique studio space provided by ArtBuilt Mobile Studio adjacent to the Queens Museum. The residency is culminating with Chance Ecologies exhibition at the Queens Museum in October 2016.
The Queens Museum is an art museum and educational center located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York City. The museum is housed in building built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, and later hosted the United Nations General Assembly. The Queens Museum has focused on outreach and access for a wide range of audiences, and is known for international contemporary art exhibitions that reflect the cultural diversity of the borough is dedicated to presenting the highest quality visual arts and educational programming for people in the New York metropolitan area, and particularly for the residents of Queens, a uniquely diverse, ethnic, cultural, and international community.
Chance Ecologies, led by curators Catherine Grau and Nathan Kensinger, is a curatorial framework for artistic gestures and research projects exploring wilderness found in abandoned spaces, post industrial sites, and landfills in New York City. The main trajectories of this project are to create research and discourse around the value of wild, unmanaged spaces in the urban environment and to creatively articulate visions for the future of native and non-native species. In 2015, Chance Ecologies engaged a group of 20 artists to create a series of public projects within the wild landscape of Hunter’s Point South, Queens, before it was leveled for a major housing development. These projects included artist-led walks, workshops, a seed library, an archaeological dig, and a pirate radio station.
ArtBuilt Mobile Studios are small mobile workspaces that allow artists, social-service providers and micro-businesses work in new ways and in new places. ArtBuilt is a non-profit organization which works to support the creative sector by helping individual creative workers. Formed in 2015 through the merger of established arts-support nonprofits ArtHome and Artopolis Development, ArtBuilt focuses on financial literacy and business training, home-ownership and other forms of asset-building, access to credit, economic self-sufficiency and micro-enterprise support. ArtBuilt provides innovative solutions by leveraging existing solutions and expertise from other sectors to benefit their arts constituency.