Box-Seat

Muggle Mushroom Muses

Are you a mychophile? Mychophile, the Oxford Dictionary tells us, is ‘an enthusiast for mushrooms and other (especially edible) fungi; a person fond of eating mushrooms.’  This is about any type of mushroom – plain old grocery bin mushrooms are welcome here.

Centuries of artists have shown themselves to be mad for mushrooms. Author Beatrix Potter painted more than 300 watercolours of mushrooms. Since 2006, British artist Simon Popper has collected mushroom stamps, building a display that takes viewers from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

The North American Mycological Association has even established a Registry of Mushrooms in Works of Art. In it, you’ll find mushroom headliners, as in 17th century painter Marten Boelema de Stomme’s The Truffle Pie.

.

.

The Registry also hunts for artful mushrooms that might escape the eyes of the less fungally-focused. We learn, for instance,  that 19th Century British painter Joseph Denovan’s Deer in the Shade features ‘at least one mushroom in a small declivity in the soil below the head of the cream colored standing doe. There may be another species below.’

.

.

London’s Somerset House Arts Centre has fully embraced the mushroom muse in: Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi. This popular 2020 exhibit had to close early due to Covid-19, but has been given new life online with a virtual tour. Curated by Francesca Gavin, the exhibit features more than 40 artists, designs, and musicians including Beatrix Potter, Cy Twombly, John Cage, Takashi Murakami and Simon Popper.

It’s an exhibition, we learn, that ‘explores the colourful cultural legacy of the humble mushroom and their powerful potential in the planet’s survival, as innovative designers experiment with the sustainable material of mushrooms in fashion, homewares and architecture.’

Check out the Virtual Tour below..

.

.

.

North American Mycological Association Art Registry

.

www.creatorsvancouver.com

Header: Beatrix Potter. Lepiota Friesii, aka lei-iota aspera. Mushroom gathered in 1895. Armitt Museum.

 

Previous

Feast For The Eyes

Next

Fine Art For The Green Fairy

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton