“I immediately saw them not as flowers but as memory,” Crumpler said. “They were related to the history of capitalism and commerce and used all over the Western world as currency. I saw that as similar to what happens when you use human bodies as currency and you create a capitalism structure around the movement of those bodies.”
Seen on their own, the works feel like exuberant bursts of abstraction, beautiful like the tulips and yet, more complicated. With Crumpler’s explanation, they took on an altogether different meaning. It was an interaction that underscored the importance of seeing and experiencing art in the company of artists — and why San Francisco must continue to support them all year, not just in times of crisis.