• Gina Rullo

Crafting botanical pieces of art


Flowers by Flower Craft artist Kristen Alpaugh. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Alpaugh)

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) will present Flower Craft, on view May 14 through June 26 and featuring the creative visions of six botanical artists working at the forefront of contemporary floral design. “Flower Craft investigates floral artistry as an overlooked chapter in the history of craft and design,” said Elissa Auther, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and William and Mildred Lasdon Chief Curator. “As these artists expand the boundaries of materials and creative expression, they are also in dialogue with a variety of aesthetic traditions, from early modern European still life painting to the eighteenth-century picturesque to the hyper-reality of the twenty-first-century digital realm—all of which will be explored in the exhibition.”


The exhibition is curated by Auther and Sarah Bedford, the founder of the acclaimed floral design studio, Bedford & Company. Each week of the exhibition will be dedicated to a single artist, who will install spectacular fresh floral creations in the gallery. There will also be a curated selection of vessels in a range of mediums, complementing the emphasis on the craft and design of flower arrangement. Artists in this section of the exhibition will include Emily Mullins and Jolie Ngo, as well as a new video performance by Cauleen Smith.


The Flower Craft botanical artists are:


Kristen Alpaugh is founder of Los Angeles-based FLWR PSTL, a studio whose high-profile clients include Katy Perry, SZA, and Doja Cat, as well as major cosmetic and fashion brands. Alpaugh melds botanicals with various media to tell unique and compelling stories. She was recently featured in HBOMax’s floral competition series, “Full Bloom.”


Doan Ly, founder of a.p. bio, is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice integrates the fields of floral design, photography and video. Ly’s work has been published in Vogue Spain, China, and Italy; The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Kinfolk, among others. Her commercial clients include Moschino, Victoria’s Secret, Carolina Herrera, Zara and many more.


Flowers by Flower Craft artist Lutfi Janania. (Eureka Productions + HBO MAX)

Lutfi Janania is a Honduran botanical artist raised on a bioreserve among the rain forest and mountains in San Pedro Sula. His sculptures, comprised of exquisite dry and hydrated natural materials, are surreal, unrealized portraits of the artist’s imagined worlds. Janania was the winner of season two of HBOMax’s “Full Bloom.”


Noritaka Noda is president of the Ikenobo Ikebana NYC Chapter, as well as the first and only U.S. special professor recognized by the Ikenobo Headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. Noda is known for his unusual arrangements, which combine traditional and modern materials in different scales. His clients include American and Japanese corporations, restaurants, retail and museums.


Emily Thompson is the founder of Emily Thompson Flowers in New York City. Born in Vermont, Thompson earned an MFA in sculpture from UCLA. Inspired by the eighteenth-century theory of the picturesque, she has designed dramatic naturalistic arrangements and installations for the Obama White House, MoMA’s Modern restaurant, Bergdorf Goodman, T Magazine, Jason Wu and other notable clients.


Manu Torres is an artist based in Portland, Oregon. His floral arrangements often involve a dialogue between the artificial and the natural; incorporating paper, fabric, paint and feathers to imitate and exaggerate natural beauty in a hyperreal way. His recent solo exhibition at Russo Lee Gallery was an ArtForum Critic’s Pick.


During the run of the exhibition, the Flower Craft gallery will function as a studio classroom for MAD’s Flower Craft Atelier taught by the exhibition artists, as well as a variety of intergenerational workshops. Surrounded by the extraordinary display of innovative floral design, audiences of all ages and skill levels will be able to explore floral creativity with an inspiring collective of artists and designers.


The museum is located at Jerome and Simona Chazen Building, 2 Columbus Circle in New York City.


The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields and presents the work of artists, designers and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill. Since the museum’s founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies.


For more information, please visit madmuseum.org.