06 May 2010


Berry Botanic Garden is on the endangered list. I’d been wanting to go, and when a visiting friend asked about it, seized the opportunity. We went this morning and saw dozens of new-to-me plants, including the exquisite Agapetes serpens from the Himalayas (above) and a kiwi relative (below) called Actinidia kolomikta, which appeared to be suffering from a beguilingly lovely fungal blight, but is actually healthy and normal.

I’m nowhere near knowledgeable enough to qualify as a plant geek. You think I knew these names? Any civilized garden -- and Berry is certainly that -- like any civilized social gathering, offers name tags to its guests.

My friend and her husband are staying downtown, in the Park Blocks, and I asked her to drop me off there so I could check out the current exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. The show is called Disquieted, and it lives up to its name: skewed, often creepy, images involving the human body. This highly detailed and realistic sculpture of a boy, for instance, by Ron Mueck. For scale, the mirror behind him, which is part of the piece, is about 18” tall. It’s like some freakish taxidermy, and yet so realistic that you half expect him to turn his head and start talking. Deeply disturbing, yet I couldn’t turn away. It reminded me of that plastinated cadaver exhibit that toured a couple of years ago, only without the flaying.

The show was interesting, though off-balancing and ultimately kind of depressing. I knew I’d find a welcome counterpoint downstairs, in the permanent Asian collection. I spent a few minutes with Quanyin, strolled through the hall of Buddhas, and headed for the bus, quieted.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Beautiful photos of the plants. I saw the cadaver exhibit also and found it very disturbing. But, our son was motivated to stop smoking after seeing the cadaver lungs...It was 2 yrs ago and he is still good....Yep, some time with Quanyin is always good...Namaste