Philodendron at Wolfsonian-FIU museum
October 16 2015 – February 28 2016
Seventh Floor, The Wolfsonian–FIU, 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
Central and South American flora took center stage in Philodendron, a sprawling exhibition that charts the migration of tropical plants from their native habitats to North American and European gardens and interiors. Spanning three centuries and drawing together objects from the Amazon, Caribbean, and beyond, the survey explores this often-overlooked, Pan-American cultural exchange to deconstruct the “social lives” of the plants, from their influence on material culture to their impact on diverse fields ranging from the visual arts, architecture, film, and fashion to the agricultural, industrial, and medical sciences. By following the philodendron from the jungle to the home, the exhibition illustrates the myriad ways the plant shaped Western ideas of the tropics—becoming an evolving symbol for what is exotic, Latin, and modern. Philodendronincludes objects created by indigenous Amazonian peoples; botanical drawings by Heinrich Schott, who first classified hundreds of Philodendron species; and works by such artists and designers as Henri Matisse, Roberto Burle-Marx, Paulo Werneck, Erdem and, included local artists Edouard Duval Carrié and Michele Oka Doner.