Athenaeum Music & Arts Library Joseph Clayes III Gallery

Joseph Clayes III Gallery


Sally Hagy-Boyer: Mankind's Mischief

March 14–May 2, 2020

Opening Reception—CANCELLED: Friday, March 13, 6:30–8:30 PM

Artist Walk-Through: Saturday, March 14, 11:00 AM



Drawing inspiration from the collections of the largest botanical library in the world at the New York Botanical Garden, Mankind’s Mischief creates a synthesis of the science of botany and personal reflections. Through imagery, illustrations, and books, Sally Hagy-Boyer explores how plants have their way of twining, growing, and enveloping the world around them—while humans have a history of manipulating the plant world for their own gains. She uses flora in ornament and pattern, allowing plants to be the forefront of her work while incorporating items from both the natural world, and the tossed and found: pods and sea glass, seaweed, and rusted wire. The exhibition title references a quote by notable Prussian geographer, explorer, and naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt giving a dire warning of “man’s disturbance of nature’s order.” Sally Hagy-Boyer was raised in Chicago and holds a BA in art and multimedia from San Diego State University. After 16 years in San Diego, Hagy-Boyer and her family relocated to New York, where she continues to exhibit in East coast venues and is represented in various public and private collections.


To open old journals or books and carefully unveil delicate botanical illustrations, whose colors are as vibrant as the day they were created…there is also the possibility that no one has looked at these particular images in decades. I have drawn a bibliography for this show because these works have informed my art…this provides a tactile connection to their words.”

–Sally Hagy-Boyer