DeCordova announces new artwork in Sculpture Park


DeCordova is pleased to announce several new artworks in the Sculpture Park. The sculptures range from small-scale bronze pieces in the lush Alice’s Garden, to large-scale commissions on the Park’s main lawns, to two monumental pieces that will be installed by the community in collaboration with a visiting artist. All sculptures are on loan and temporary, allowing deCordova to offer a constantly evolving landscape of art and nature for visitors.

“This summer DeCordova continues its robust program of diverse loans and commissions by major contemporary artists—some in generous collaboration with institutions, such as The Studio Museum in Harlem,” says Senior Curator Sarah Montross. “We are also proud to continue our ongoing PLATFORM program which gives emerging artists the rare opportunity to develop artwork outdoors and test new methods of fabrication and design.”

Four of the sculptures were installed in the spring, and two will be installed in July and August.

David Nash, Spiral (2014)
On view now in Alice’s Garden

Over the past decade, David Nash has been casting bronze sculpture, either in primary forms such as spheres, cubes, and pyramids, or—like Spiral—in imitation of his pre-existing wooden sculptures. Nash consciously invokes earth, water, fire, and wind when transforming his wooden sculpture, as he floats them down a river, chars their surface, or leaves them in the elements for decades. His incorporation of bronze casting as part of this practice continues themes of change, decay, and alteration, especially as he melts and solders metal. As some of Nash’s early wooden works begin to decay naturally, bronze versions offer a method of preserving their forms for posterity, while not interfering in the original wooden objects’ physical conditions

Michelle Grabner, Untitled (2018)
On view now in Alice’s Garden

Untitled is part of a series of cast bronze sculptures of worn, knitted, and crocheted blankets. It transposes fiber to bronze, plush to hard, droopy to erect, warm to cold, and functional item to display object. Some works in the series stand upright, with their corners seemingly pulled as if by clothespins. The humility of Untitled’s formlessness lends the work a sense of irony. Bronze has been the favored medium for imperial portraiture and notable public sculpture. By appropriating this medium for a subject as sentimental and quotidian as a used blanket, Grabner throws open the tradition of cast-bronze sculpture, raising questions about why we immortalize certain subjects and how we determine which artifacts are disposable. At deCordova, Untitled is featured among trees, shrubs, rocks, and illusionistic sculptures in Alice’s Garden that similarly evoke familiar forms and textures from everyday life.

PLATFORM 24: Wardell Milan, Sunday, Sitting on the Bank of Butterfly Meadow (2013/2019)
On view now on the Entrance Lawn

For this PLATFORM rotation, New York-based artist Wardell Milan adapts one of his lush, intricate photo-dioramas to a monumental scale. Working with photography, sculpture, drawing, and collage, Milan stages intricate maquettes of found imagery to create compositions of pastoral landscapes populated by bodies of diverse genders and racial identity. Set within the Sculpture Park, Milan’s overflowing tableaux invites us into a fantastical world of idyllic scenery charged by human desire and expansive notions of beauty.

B. Wurtz, Kitchen Trees (2018)
On view now on the Entrance Lawn

Kitchen Trees is one of Wurtz’s first large-scale, public sculptures. Its trunk is composed of blue colanders stacked in a slender column with thin metallic branches leading to overturned pots and pans, out of which plastic fruits and vegetables appear to fall. The sculpture’s form is partially inspired by the bulbous bronze fountain in New York’s City Hall Park where Kitchen Trees was first displayed alongside four other sculptures from the same series. And yet, Wurtz’s tree inverts the seriousness of such civic monuments, as its spindly branches vibrate in the wind and evoke the spray of the fountain’s jets. Here at deCordova, the whimsical piece evokes a tropical palm tree, in striking contrast to the towering pines and elegant beeches that thrive in New England.

Marren Hassinger, Monument 3 (Standing Rectangle) and Monument 6 (Square) (2018)
Community installation July 24–26 on the Entrance Lawn

Maren Hassinger’s Monuments envisions a community coming together to create art with materials that surround us. Continuing her life-long inquiry into the relationship of sculpture and nature, the installation of Monuments 3 and 6 requires volunteers to clean, braid, and insert branches within the wire structure of her large forms. The work will be completed in the Park over the course of three days by visitors who sign up to volunteer in shifts (see below for registration details). The artist will be on-site to assist in the installation on the final day, Friday, July 26.

PLATFORM 25: Leeza Meksin, Turret Tops (2019)
Coming August 19 to the South Lawn

For Turrets Tops, an original outdoor commission, Leeza Meksin will create two life-sized replicas of deCordova’s iconic Museum building turrets in the Park. Draping these towering conical forms with vibrantly colored neoprene, Meksin combines textile patterns and ornamental architectural details to articulate connections between the fashions we use to cover our bodies and the dwellings we inhabit. The installation encourages visitors to recognize assumptions about clothing and gender, architecture and ornament that filter into our daily lives.

About the PLATFORM Series

PLATFORM is a series of one-person commissioned projects by early- and mid-career artists from New England, national, and international art communities that engage with deCordova’s unique landscape. The PLATFORM series lets artists expand their practice and visitors experience new approaches to contemporary sculpture.

Related Programs

Community Installation: Maren Hassinger, Monuments
Wednesday–Friday, July 24–26, 9 am–4 pm (half-day shifts)
Free; register online here
Join in the re-creation of Maren Hassinger’s Monument 3 (Standing Rectangle) and Monument 6 (Square) in the Park. Work together with volunteers to build these locally-sourced wood-faced sculptures, intended as sites for collective gathering and as standalone works of art. For ages 13+.

Neoprene Workshop with Artist Leeza Meksin
Saturday, August 24, 2–5 pm
Free with admission or membership; register online here
Join PLATFORM artist Leeza Meksin for an all-ages outdoor workshop exploring neoprene, the popular fabric used for scuba gear, shape wear, mouse pads, and much more. Practice new ways of testing your creativity with different fabrics and learn more about Meksin's new Turret Tops installation.

Picnic and Conversation with Wardell Milan
Thursday, September 26, 12–1 pm
Free with admission or membership; register online here
Join artist Wardell Milan for a picnic and conversation in the Park, where we will channel the pastoral energy from his billboard commission Sunday, Sitting on the Bank of Butterfly Hill. Learn about Milan’s process and inspirational sources, from the modernist photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Nature.” Please bring your own lunch.

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