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The Celebration of Nature in a Myriad of Media is the Focus of the New Exhibition Flora and Fauna, MAD about Nature

New York, NY (June 22, 2011)

From insects and birds to flowers and trees, and don't forget, aquatic life, Flora and Fauna, MAD about Nature takes an engaging look at how artists celebrate nature in a variety of media, including ceramic, glass, fiber, metal and wood. "The breadth of the subject matter and the diversity of the wildly imaginative depictions reveals that Mother Nature remains a fecund source of inspiration for many gifted artists," says Elizabeth Edwards Kirrane, the assistant curator responsible for organizing Flora and Fauna.

As suggested by its name, the exhibition of 126 artworks, drawn from the MAD collection, along with promised gifts and loans, is presented in two parts: "Flora" and "Fauna." The "Fauna" section, which opened on May 24, features artful depictions of creatures great and small. Notable among them is Paul Villinski's "Passage (Study)," a piece never before exhibited, which features the delicate frame of a wooden glider engulfed by a cloud of Yves Klein-blue butterflies. Another surreal work, Steffan Dam's "Marine Group," consists of a selection of strangely familiar biomorphic forms stored in simulated specimen jars made of cast glass. Among the other artists represented in the section are Pedro Friedeberg, Sherry Markovitz, Preston Singletary, Lino Tagliapietra, and Jennifer Trask.

Opening on June 28, the "Flora" section features artworks inspired by plants, flowers, and landscape. One of the most striking and whimsical pieces is Beth Katleman's "Folly," which consists of 50 bucolic white porcelain tableaux, hung in relief against a vivid turquoise wall. This three-dimensional "wallpaper," inspired by 18th century toile de jouy patterns, combines landscape elements with a variety of creatures cast from flea market souvenirs. Also noteworthy is the Japanese designer Hiroki Takada's "Orchid Lamp," a recent Museum acquisition. Inspired by the forms of ikebana, the lamp "arranges" nature and technology, with a simplicity of design akin to that floral artform. Other artists represented in this section include Jack Lenor Larson, Ted Muehling, Shen Shaomin, Paul Stankard, and Tapio Wirkkala.

Flora and Fauna, MAD about Nature will run through November 6, 2011.


The Museum of Arts and Design explores the blur zone between art, design, and craft today. The Museum focuses on contemporary creativity and the ways in which artists and designers from around the world transform materials through processes ranging from the artisanal to digital. The Museum's exhibition program explores and illuminates issues and ideas, highlights creativity and craftsmanship, and celebrates the limitless potential of materials and techniques when used by gifted and innovative artists. MAD's permanent collection is global in scope and focuses on art, craft, and design from 1950 to the present day. At the center of the Museum's mission is education. The Museum's dynamic new facility features classrooms and studios for master classes, seminars, and workshops for students, families, and adults. Three open artist studios engage visitors in the creative processes of artists at work and enhance the exhibition programs. Lectures, films, performances, and symposia related to the Museum's collection and topical subjects affecting the world of contemporary art, craft, and design are held in a renovated 144-seat auditorium.

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