By Carol Stocker
This is my favorite annual weekend at the Museum of Fine Arts, whose galleries are transformed through Monday by almost 70 extraordinary arrangements inspired by specific works of art in the museum collection. Volunteer arrangers in many local garden clubs have been assigned wildly differing works of art works to interpret, ranging from mid-century jewelry to early American furniture and ancient Egyptian tombs. The fun of Art in Bloom is to judge for yourself how cleverly or deftly each flower arrangement echoes the art it is paired with. The floral festival is free with regular Museum admission - which itself is free on Monday night from 5-9 p.m. at the end of the show.
One of the best arrangements ever devised for Art in Bloom must be the Boston Junior League Garden Club's large two dimensional installation by Jane Carr and Lucinda Larson, which interprets an entire special exhibit room of fashion illustrations. Their mammoth piece is comprised of five assorted flower arrangements linked together by the classic fashion motif of sinuous curving palm fronds. The witty result is a floral art special exhibit in its own right that mirrors the spacial relationships of the larger display around it.
There is a lot of mirroring. For instance the very effective arrangement that is Dana Roberts' and Jean Ridge's interpretation of a nautical American painting, for the Hull Garden Club, seems to float in its boat-like ceramic vessel. Having the right container can make (or break) a floral arrangement, of course. Stephanie Hartwell and Joan Gallery of the Amateur Gardeners of Milton reflect a cache of Joan Crawford's aquamarine and diamond jewelry with camera ready flowers in a glittering mirror vase gaudy as the trophy ball on TV's "Dancing With The Stars."
The second floor of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art is a jewel box itself, and is the must-see gallery of this 36th edition of Art in Bloom. Begin with Jessica Pohl and Barbie Cobb's interpretation of "Sinuous," a writhing white sculpture which they deftly recreate with fiddle heads and calla lilies for the Weston Garden Club. The free-wheeling fun continues throughout this wing as flower arranging goes modern.
Maureen Marshall and Catherine Healy do a vibrant interpretation of red toile wallpaper for the Holliston Garden Club.
The Art of Europe Wing is another fun spot. The warm golden heart of Ann Millington's and Cat Malone's outwardly pale roses captures the changing light in the architectural landscape they have interpreted for the Milton Garden Club.
Many of the Professional Designers' arrangements are also worthy of accolades, including Sue Kaplan Flower melting red and black installation and Jolie Lapham Design's playful red and green dragon. New Leaf flores also prompts second looks.
Members' Night is Sunday, April 29, 6–9 pm with members-only viewings with tours, shopping, and dining. Tours continue until 8 pm; galleries are open until 9 pm. The New American Cafe's last seating is at 8 pm; Taste opens until 8:30 pm. The Paula Pryke Book Signing is Monday, April 30, 12:30–1:30 pm