Dead Blogging the Nasturtiums at the Gardner Museum

Well the Missus and I trundled over to The Fenway yesterday afternoon to take in the Gardner’s annual flower show (reservations required) and say, it was swell.

Cascades of flowering nasturtium vines make their brief—but dramatic—appearance above the courtyard, celebrating the arrival of spring at the Museum. (Nasturtium blooms last about three weeks.) The annual Hanging Nasturtiums display continues an annual tradition started by Isabella during the week before Easter, marking the return of color to the Fenway.

Nasturtium vines (Tropaeolum majus) are started from seed in June, planted in late summer and trained in the Museum’s greenhouses throughout the winter to prepare them for their spectacular spring debut. The vines require continuous care in the greenhouse to ensure dramatic length—up to twenty feet—and require up to ten workers to install in the Museum. The result is a stunning display that cannot be found anywhere else.

Beyond the nasturtiums, the Gardner’s courtyard offers a riotous display of other flowers that are thoroughly cheerful and lovely.

(I need to take a moment here to strike a less flowery note: People, it’s sad to say, are the worst. Exhibit Umpteen: You stand there gazing around the courtyard and two seconds later some beer-bellied bozo is breathing down your neck because he has to take a photo from that exact spot right now. Throughout our visit other people resolutely refused to keep their distance because, really, who gives a damn about us.)

Undaunted, we also swung by the exhibit Shen Wei: Painting in Motion.

Dancer, choreographer, painter, and filmmaker Shen Wei moves fluidly between disciplines and cultures to create art that expresses a common spirit animating the world around us. His theory of dance seeks to align the energies inside and outside the body, approaching the body and its environment as fundamentally interconnected. As a painter, Shen Wei uses the monumental scale of the canvas to create immersive visual environments that evoke ancient Chinese landscape paintings while enlisting the drips and gestures of twentieth-century abstraction. The size of the paintings invites the viewer on a journey along the canvas, integrating movement into the experience of static works. His films synthesize choreography, time, place, and light to craft ethereal worlds. Shen Wei’s practice transcends the boundaries between visual and performing arts, seeking spiritual meaning that unites his work across disciplines.

Fun fact to know and tell: Shen Wei created this piece by putting paint on the soles of his feet and dancing around the canvas.


The Shen Wei exhibit is there though June 20th. The nasturtiums are there, with any luck, through the end of April

The beer-belly guy will be there indefinitely.

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