An Interview with Curator Theresa Papanikolas
Hawai‘i in the Haupt Conservatory
The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory showcases the remarkable beauty and richness of Hawai‘i’s wild and cultivated flora. Plantings with more than 300 types of plants designed by Francisca Coelho and set pieces designed by Tony Award-winning designer Scott Pask explore the profound importance of plants in Hawaiian culture and growing concerns about threats to native Hawaiian plants.
Long borders of colorful tropical garden plants such as those Georgia O’Keeffe encountered and painted while in Hawai‘i include ti plant, frangipani, bougainvillea, heliconia, hibiscus, bird-of-paradise, ginger, and many more tropical favorites. Beyond the borders, planting beds arranged around an open-sided thatched-roof pavilion inspired by the traditional Hawaiian hale will tell the story of canoe plants—useful plants brought to the Islands 1,000 years ago by Polynesian settlers.
Outside in the Conservatory Courtyards starting in June, pineapples and bananas, among other favorites, will be on view, along with hundreds of hibiscus, as well as gardenia and bougainvillea. Canoe plants and other edible and useful tropicals such as papaya and sugarcane are featured.
O’Keeffe’s Works in the Mertz Library Art Gallery
O’Keeffe’s works depicting Hawaiian subjects garnered critical and popular attention when they were exhibited in 1940 at An American Place, the gallery of her husband, famed photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864–1946).
The works in this grouping, not seen together in New York since their 1940 debut, were all created in 1939 and include Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger [plant depicted is actually a “lobster claw” heliconia] and Pineapple Bud (both of which were used in the Hawaiian Pineapple Company’s advertisements and which are held today in private collections); Hibiscus with Plumeria (loaned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum); and a series of landscape paintings depicting Maui’s interior ‘Īao Valley and lava-studded shorelines (loaned by the Honolulu Museum of Art).
More Art & Nature
Immerse yourself in the story of O’Keeffe’s journey to and time spent in Hawai‘i through an exhibition in the Ross Gallery as well as an original short film. Elsewhere poetry, contemporary art, and a look at NYBG’s plant research in Hawai‘i showcase the Islands’ influence in and contributions to art, culture, and science.