When I began to discuss a “New Pictures 5” exhibition in the Linda and Lawrence Perlman Gallery (262) with Jason Fulford, featuring mushroom photographs he found at a flea market, I never imagined that the mushrooms would accumulate and spread. By the time we finished the installation, the mushrooms were located throughout the MIA’s collection. This caused a bit of confusion, a great deal of enthusiasm, and even a little bit of trouble. What would you expect from mushrooms?
There are 13 mushroom photographs sprouting among works of art in the Asian, African, decorative arts, and contemporary collections at the MIA. Some are hidden and others are more obvious. Each mushroom picture marks what might be called a twist in the perception of the permanent collection. I don’t want to explain what these mushrooms produce because how can you explain mushrooms? I might be better off explaining pictures to a dead hare. But below are a few images of the mushroom installations. You decide whether you want to pick them, eat them, or just walk on by.