Isa Genzken: Two Orchids

About the Exhibition

Once a rare and exotic flower, the orchid has become one of the world’s most ubiquitous indoor plants. From corporate offices to domestic interiors, from upscale florists to Home Depot, this tropical plant can now be seen anywhere -and acquired by anybody. It’s a striking and decorative flower without any dominant symbolism, except perhaps a hint of luxury left over from the 19th century when orchids were seen as “the chosen ornaments of royalty.”

For eminent German artist Isa Genzken (b. 1948, Bad Oldesloe), the mass-produced white orchid has become the quintessential flower of our age: global, accessible, and open to interpretation. Rising to 28 and 34 feet respectively, the paired stems of Genzken’s towering sculpture wind elegantly skyward, capturing light and casting shadows in a play of rhyming forms. Two Orchids heralds the entrance to Central Park in voluptuous full flower, its pristine white petals free from any blemishes. It stands as an idealized, colossal version of the familiar plant: a civic monument to the perfect orchid, now the chosen ornament of contemporary culture.

This exhibition is curated by Nicholas Baume



Doris C. Freedman Plaza

Central Park, 60th Street & 5th Avenue

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About the Artist

Isa Genzken (b. 1948, Bad Oldesloe, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. Major solo exhibitions of her work have been presented by institutions including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 2015; Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria in 2014 (traveled to Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK 1), Frankfurt in 2015); The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2013 (traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Dallas Museum of Art, both in 2014); Whitechapel Gallery, London in 2009 (traveled to Museum Ludwig, Cologne); Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany in 2002 (traveled to Kunsthalle Zürich in 2003); The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in 1992 (traveled to Portikus, Frankfurt; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Städtisches Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, both in 1993); and Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany in 1988 (traveled to Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, both in 1989). In November 2015, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, will present the largest retrospective of her work in the Netherlands. In 2007, the artist represented Germany at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Her work has been prominently featured in international biennials and group exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale (2015, 2003, 1993, and 1982); Skulptur Projekte Münster (2007, 1997, and 1987); and Documenta (2002, 1992, and 1982). Her work is included in public and private collections across the globe including the Dallas Museum of Art; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Genzken is represented by Galerie Buchholz and David Zwirner.