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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Flora Imaginaria Opens July 16 at Selby Gardens


We’re excited to announce our summer exhibition!

Erwan Frotin, Freesia sp., 2007
© Erwan Frotin
Courtesy of the artist

Flora Imaginaria: The Flower in Contemporary Photography officially opens Saturday, July 16, at our Sarasota campus. The indoor/outdoor exhibition, co-organized with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography (FEP), features more than 70 images created by 49 internationally acclaimed photographers. The show remains on view daily through September 25.

Our President and CEO, Jennifer O. Rominiecki says, “We are excited to continue ‘The Year of Photography’ at Selby Gardens with another world premiere of contemporary art in dialogue with nature at our Downtown Sarasota campus. The Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography has been a wonderful partner in conceiving a visually stunning, artistically significant show. This innovative approach to displaying large-format prints both inside our Museum and outside in the Gardens exemplifies Selby Gardens’ model as The Living Museum.®”

Flora Imaginaria includes a total of 72 photographs produced over the past three decades. Works by celebrated artists such as Pedro Almodóvar, Valérie Belin, Daniel Gordon, Abelardo Morell, Vik Muniz, Viviane Sassen, and Martin Schoeller appear alongside compelling photographs by emerging artists. The photos may depict flowers found in the landscape or even the cityscape, or they may have been taken in studios in an effort to conjure original approaches. Some honor art history, while others take a gleefully subversive approach. “This colorful, wide-ranging overview pays homage to the flower’s perennial attraction and reminds us of the flower’s extraordinary endurance as an inspiring subject in art,” said FEP’s William A. Ewing, who co-curated the show with Danaé Panchaud. “Taken together, these photographs present a sumptuous bouquet in the exceptional setting of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.”

Viviane Sassen, In Bloom, shot for Dazed & Confused magazine, 2011, © Viviane Sassen

Following its debut at Selby Gardens, Flora Imaginaria will travel to other venues in the U.S. and beyond. The show also follows a similarly themed exhibition of 30 years ago—Flora Photographica—which was first shown in London’s Serpentine Gallery and subsequently traveled to New York, Toronto, and elsewhere. FEP curator Ewing wrote the catalogue for that original exhibition.

Access to Flora Imaginaria is included with general admission to Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus.

Flora Imaginaria: The Flower in Contemporary Photography is sponsored by Isabel Becker.

About the curators:

William A. Ewing is an author, lecturer, and curator of photography. Director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne from 1996 to 2010, he has written several publications on photography, including The Body (1994), Landmark: The Fields of Landscape Photography (2014), Edward Burtynsky: Essential Elements (2016), and Civilization (2018), all published by Thames & Hudson. His first book on flowers, Flora Photographica (1991), looked at the subject from 1835 to 1990.

Danaé Panchaud is a curator, museologist, and lecturer specializing in photography, and is the director of the Centre de la photographie Genève. From 2018 to 2021, she was director and curator of the Photoforum Pasquart in Biel, one of the main Swiss institutions dedicated to contemporary photography. She is the president of Spectrum, the national association of Swiss institutions for photography.

Artists (country of origin/nationality):

Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)

Jessica Backhaus (Germany)

Mandy Barker (United Kingdom)

Brendan Barry (United Kingdom)

Valérie Belin (France)

Olga Cafiero (Italy/Sweden)

Sharon Core (U.S.)

Lia Darjes (Germany)

Richard de Tscharner (Switzerland)

Elspeth Diederix (Netherlands)

Xuebing Du (China)

Elaine Duigenan (United Kingdom)

Joanna Epstein (U.S.)

Erwan Frotin (Switzerland/France)

Mathieu Gafsou (Switzerland)

Daniel Gordon (U.S.)

Roberto Greco (Italy)

Anna Halm Schudel (Switzerland)

Pamela Ellis Hawkes (U.S.)

Aimée Hoving (Netherlands)

Nadav Kander (Israel)

Sandra Kantanen (Finland)

Rob Kesseler (United Kingdom)

Irene Kung (Switzerland)

David Lebe (U.S.)

Laura Letinsky (Canada)

Kathrin Linkersdorff (Germany)

Brigitte Lustenberger (Switzerland)

Ann Mandelbaum (U.S.)

Carmen Mitrotta (Italy)

Abelardo Morell (Cuba)

Vik Muniz (Brazil)

Marcel Rickli (Switzerland)

Paul Rousteau (France)

Viviane Sassen (Netherlands)

Thirza Schaap (Netherlands)

Helene Schmitz (Sweden)

Martin Schoeller (Germany)

Ann Shelton (New Zealand)

Niki Simpson (United Kingdom)

Rudolf Steiner (Switzerland)

Miriam Tölke (Germany)

Ron van Dongen (Netherlands)

Ruud van Empel (Netherlands)

Robert Walker (Canada)

Jo Whaley (U.S.)

Nadirah Zakariya (Malaysia)

Victoria Zschommler (Australia)

Andrew Zuckerman (U.S.)