In the 1700s, colonial contact brought about cross-cultural pollination and the proliferation of foreign flowers across the globe. As never-before-seen vegetables, saplings, and flowers blossomed in the Western world, a desire to learn more about plants took root. Medicinal and scientific gardens sprung up in major cities, and the pale shoots of burgeoning botanical knowledge pushed through many disciplines. This exhibition charts botany’s influence on design, featuring textiles, ceramics, wall coverings, and the like. It also presents the first illustrated guides—a nexus of art and the science of plants—that designers consulted for their work. —C.J.F.
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum 2 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128, United States Get Directions »