By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Welcome to “The Flower Show: An Invitational,” at Patricia Faure only through September 18, with nary a mention of the beleaguered artists’ garden club. Organized by Zazu Faure, the show includes contributions from art-world luminaries such as Billy Al Bengston, the Reverend Ethan Acres, Lari Pittman, Jacci Den Hartog (the most visible of the Germinators) and Christopher Knight. All arrangements are to include “organic material arranged with artistic flair,” and, in true memento mori tradition, wilting material will not be replenished. As an artistic phenomenon, the exhibition is both firmly rooted in history and a radical confusion of an unfairly disdained aesthetic activity with avant-garde notions of reconfiguring the social contract of artist, gallery and viewer. The Germinators‘ project as a whole speaks of an un-art-world-like level of commitment. Of a willingness to dedicate time better spent schmoozing or brushing up on your Kristeva to what is essentially a solitary, contemplative aesthetic pursuit that demands both constant attention and a resignation to the transitory nature of all good stuff. And of a way to translate that experience into a social context.
Recalling both Voltaire’s injunction to eschew idealistic social engagement to “cultivate our gardens,” as well as recent critical interpretations that identify the trend for art strictly deferring to the sensual desires of its audience as a radical political reorganization, the show delivers the visual-art audiences‘ favorite object (Impressionist flower painting being the last point at which the majority of people feel comfortable with modern art) in a seemingly paradoxical context of critical currency. And while the show promises at least an abundance of traditional visual, olfactory and allegorical fodder, it will undoubtedly be rich in the inventive surprises that drew attention to the Germinators in the first place.
And what of the Germinators? While not officially participating in the Flower Show, most of the members are included. “I just said, ’Any Germinator who wants to participate is welcome,‘ and most of them did,” says Zazu Faure. “I’m not a Germinator anymore. But I see this as a wax-and-wane kind of situation. It‘s at a low point, but come the spring the Germinators will probably be surging with life and energy.”
Given the weird weather that’s been going around, not to mention the amount of fertilizer that‘s been spread, my forecast is simple: Watch out.