Art Alive Blooms at the San Diego Museum of Art

By Wendy Lemlin


Floral arrangements as art, art as floral arrangements—the annual Art Alive show opened today at the San Diego Museum of Art. Now in it’s 35th year, the popular 3 day show features more than 100 floral interpretations of well-known works from the Museum’s permanent collection.

IMG_0125 The most impressive display is always the entry rotunda, and this year is no exception.  Drawing inspiration from Brush and Ink: Chinese Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art Selected by Pan Gongkai spring exhibition and the Museum’s incredible Asian art collection, designers Ben Lucero and Jim Lennox of Pacific Event Productions have put together a colorful and slightly whimsical, depiction of powerfully fanged sea monster (or dragon?) rearing up from the fountain at the rotunda’s base.  Above, Asian koi and glass bubbles swim beneath the rotunda dome. IMG_0140

The rest of the floral arrangements are scattered throughout all of the galleries, and it seems that this year there are more entries in the downstairs exhibits, in the Asian art galleries, particularly, than in the upstairs galleries. Of course, each arrangement is placed in front of, or next to, the painting, sculpture or other piece of artwork it is supposed to represent.  For me, the most successful are those floral arrangements that relate to their subjects in an abstract manner, echoing colors, textures, or generalized shapes and lines, without trying to be too literal in their interpretations. Here are some of best:IMG_0156













































IMG_0133Art Alive, one of the Museum’s favorite fundraisers, continues Sat. 4/30 & Sun 5/1 9AM-5PM  Free for members, $20 Non-members, $5 youth (7-17) Kids 6 under free.

  • For the third year in a row, Art Alive will kick off with the BLOOM BASH Opening Celebration. Featuring artwork by sculptor and designer James Peterson, this magical, nature-themed party offers culinary creations from San Diego’s top restaurants and chefs, floral-infused cocktails, live music and dancing, interactive entertainment and an exclusive after-hours viewing of this year’s floral exhibition. Tickets to the BLOOM BASH are $200 for members and $250 for nonmembers.

Other activities include:

  • Floral Demonstration led by Kika Shibata, a renowned instructor of Sogetsu IMG_0153Ikebana, the avant-garde form of the Japanese art of flower arranging on Saturday from 1-2:30 PM. The demonstration will highlight the creative freedom of the art form and the relationship between humanity and nature. Shibata teaches ikebana classes throughout the Bay Area, in Sacramento, San Diego, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas. Tickets to this presentation are $25 for members and $50 for nonmembers.
  • Garden of Activities, Saturday & Sunday, noon to 4 pm. Geared for families, the Garden of Activities features a Museum-wide flower hunt, a children’s reading area complete with nature-inspired stories, and a variety of floral-themed projects designed for children and families to enjoy together. Activities are free after Art Alive floral exhibition general admission.

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