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High Art: New Exhibition Focuses on Pot’s Visual Allure

Photo by Vortex Farmacy

Some of us might remember the first ever pot exhibition last summer at the Oakland Museum that included live specimens, history and science, and even a “Cannabis Confessional” for visitors to share their private thoughts.

Now, the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Museum of Natural History is putting on a true marijuana art exhibit.

Cannabis: A Visual Perspective” celebrates the plant—not for what it does, but for its beauty, elegance and how the plant intrigues the artistic eye with its fronds, veins, colors, shapes and flowers. The first-of-its-kind exhibition focuses on the plant’s visual allure.

The exhibit features a juried selection of botanical illustrations presented by the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists (RMSBA). According to the museum, the exhibit features drawings and paintings in watercolor, acrylic, oil, colored pencil, pastel, print and mixed media.

“This exhibit, the first of its kind in the nation, explores the diversity the genus Cannabis and spotlights the groundbreaking research conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder to expand our knowledge of this group of flowering plants,” the website says.

Much of the exhibit’s art taps into and expands the history of scientific investigations of the cannabis plant. In particular, the exhibit keys into early descriptions, samples and botanical drawings of the plant that emerged as botanists first began working to categorize the plant.

Most likely, the first botanical description of the plant now known as cannabis turned up in a book called Hortus Malabaricus, which appeared in 1678 in Amsterdam.

This early publication provided descriptions and drawings of 780 medicinal plants from Dutch Malabar, a territory then governed by the Dutch East India Company.

Beyond all this, the Washington Post points out that there’s more to the exhibit than art. It also features information about the University of Colorado at Boulder’s scientific work with cannabis.

Last year, the university received more than $830,000 to study the effects of high-potency cannabis on the brain and human behavior.

The study is one of multiple state-funded grants earmarked to study the effects of marijuana on public health. Importantly, much of the cannabis research that takes place in Colorado is funded by legal pot sales.

“Cannabis: A Visual Perspective” is now open at the Museum of Natural History, which is located at the University of Colorado at Boulder. It runs through January 26, 2018.

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