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Isa Genzken: Two Orchids

Mable Yiu

Get ready New York City for something special. On March 1, the Public Art Fund will be exhibiting acclaimed artist Isa Genzken’s Two Orchids in New York City. Initially presented at the 56th Venice Biennale’s All the World’s Futures exhibition in the spring of 2015, this is the second time the artwork has been exhibited publicly. The two flowers will be 34 and 28 feet in height and will greet visitors entering Central Park from its southeast corner.

“More than twenty years after first making her famous outdoor ‘Rose’ sculpture, Genzken has again borrowed from the natural world to create an imposing new public installation. Whereas the red rose has long been a rather clichéd symbol of love, the orchid, once a more obscure and exotic bloom, has become increasingly ubiquitous. For Genzken, the decorative neutrality of the orchid makes it the quintessential flower of our period – global and porous to meaning,” said Nicholas Baume, Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator.

The artist’s orchids are stylized and cartoon-like. More subtly, through the choice of the orchid, Genzken references a frequent topic in her body of work: sexual identity. The feminine shapes of the blooms contrast with the nature of the orchid’s root, a reference to the Ancient Greek origins of the flower’s name (Orchis referring to the male sexual organs).

Isa Genzken: Two Orchids will be on view March 1 – August 21, 2016 in Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park.

Lead support for Two Orchids is provided by the Fuhrman Family Foundation and The FLAG Art Foundation, along with generous support from Galerie Buchholz. Additional support is provided by David Zwirner, New York/London; Elizabeth Fearon Pepperman & Richard C. Pepperman II; Agnes Gund; Sarah & Eric Lane; Andrew & Linda R. Safran; and the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. This exhibition is also supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Public Art Fund Talks at The New School are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. This program is made possible in part by Con Edison and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

By Alexandra Fairweather