American horticulturalist and botanical explorer David Fairchild (1869-1954), was one of the last great plant hunters in the natural history tradition. He introduced more than 200,000 plant and varieties to the United States. His beloved home in Coconut Grove, The Kampong, became his personal plant introduction garden from 1916 until his death in 1954. The upstairs space in one of the Kampong’s early structures became Fairchild’s study and plant lab- Fairchild called it his inner sanctum.
Guided by the ample and detailed documentation of the building during Fairchild’s heyday, Mark Dion plans to restore the space to a complex semblance of a productive living botanical laboratory. For viewers the experience will be a marvelous impression of time traveling back to the 1950s. The experience will suggest that Dr. Fairchild has just stepped out. A field guide to both the Kampong grounds and structures, including the new installation of the study will provide context, botanical identification details, and curious facts and anecdotal reflections about the grounds, structures and plant collection.
- Courtesy of the artist