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Friday, April 28, 2006

Betty, You Made It!


Ceramic sculptor Betty Woodman, with a retrospective at the Met,  has her vases filled with flowers in the museum’s Great Hall.


image

“The Ming Sisters” by Betty Woodman

Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thanks to friend and superstar potter Lisa Orr for inspiration today. Lisa notified us of the new Betty Woodman retrospective that has just opened (through July 30) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Decades ago Woodman asked if the Met would use her vases for its flower arrangements in the Great Hall. “They said, ‘Don’t be silly,’ ” Woodman, now 75 years old, told the NY Times.

Now Betty’s gotten her wish, and more.

imageWoodman vases in the Met’s Great Hall

Photo: Frank R. Conrad, for the New York Times

The Met, which owns ancient Greek redware pots and Etruscan funerary urns, has never before curated an exhibit of contemporary ceramics.  Writing in the Times today, Grace Glueck compliments Woodman’s “exuberance,” and describes how her vessels manage to be painterly, sculptural and architectural all at once. She sees Woodman’s art “in a class by itself” though in the Great Hall her vases are generously accompanied—stuffed with branches of what appears to be forsythia.

According to Lisa Orr, who studied with Woodman back in 1989, “One of the reasons she makes so many vases is that she consoles herself with flowers around her NY loft because she does not have a view of beautiful nature out a window.  Also she lives near the flower district and can really load up!”

For museum-goers hell bent on mummy cases, armor or Rembrandt, please take time on your next visit to the Met to enjoy the flowers in the Great Hall. For years, these huge arrangements were designed by Chris Giftos, an especially favored customer at the same flower district. (His successor is Remco Van Vliet.)

The giant arrangements are an ongoing gift to the museum—and its visitors and visiting vases—from Lila Wallace. She snipped $4 million from her Readers Digest fortune expressly for this purpose.

Grace Glueck winds up her review: “Ms. Woodman has done five ebullient substitutes for the pompous urns in the Met’s Great Hall that hold the floral arrangements refreshed weekly there. It would be nice if the Met got to keep them.”

Hey, Grace, the Met might even be able to afford buying a couple of Betty’s vases—ya think?

 


Posted by Julie on 04/28 at 01:43 PM
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