Monday, April 24, 2017
Orchids + Hirshhorn = Why?
When: through May 14, 2017
One of the shows I look forward to with eager anticipation is the bi-annual orchid exhibit at the Natural History Museum. They set up a room full of flowers; it's like entering a different world. I like to go when it's a particularly unpleasant day; it's like taking an hour long vacation from winter.
This year, for reasons that are unclear to me, the Smithsonian has decided to put the orchid display in the Hirshhorn. It's in the main entryway, on the shelves depicted here. The problems with this are as follows:
1. The plants are right in the middle of the hustle and bustle, which means one is not transported to a gentle, spring-like atmosphere.
2. The plants are a mere side-show, especially since the Hirshhorn is now a madhouse for the duration of the Kusama show; these are lovely flowers and deserve pride of place.
3. Although one might think that such a location would be damaging to the plants, it turns out that orchids are not fragile little snowflakes; they are quite hardy - how do I know this? I read it on the wall notes at an earlier show. Which brings us to the next problem, which is that there are no wall notes.
I can only hope that next year, I will be able to enjoy this event at Natural History. Or at the Sackler or African Art - the smaller number of visitors would allow greater enjoyment. Or at the International Gallery in the Ripley would be a great place. Or, dare to dream, maybe there would be a room in the Arts and Industries Building? Or at the Freer, since it will be open again...
Verdict: Poor plants and poor visitors - deprived of a winter break by a bad location.