The Macy’s Flower Show is not where you expect to find a political statement. Yet amid the America the Beautiful-themed displays of Lady Liberty’s blooming torch, the garden of desert-hardy plants from the Southwest and the tulips beloved in the Northeast, there was Jes Gordon’s bouquet: gold-plated guns, red Solo cups, Budweiser bottles and a barcode styled after the American flag.
“We’re always the ones who come in to do something a little crazy, a little more controversial,” Gordon says. “They didn’t even ask me for [my design]. Everything’s so pretty and so obvious during the Flower Show that I’m almost a necessity to them to shake it up just a little bit.”
This is the fourth year that Gordon, who works as a high-end event designer, has created a bouquet for Macy’s annual show, and it’s not the first time she’s gotten political. Her 2012 Brazil-themed window display featured a soccer player with Beats-style headphones, sunglasses and blingy necklace against a background of the sprawling slums that surround Rio de Janeiro. “That was a mixed message as well, that Brazil wasn’t just, like, Carnivale,” she explains.
For this year's bouquet, which closed the show last weekend on April 2-3, Gordon wanted to capture the current tense political moment in American history. She gathered a collection of symbols that provoke debate over what our values are, and the tensions that arise from celebrating any one part of the massively diverse palette that makes up American life.