Andy Goldsworthy: Snow

Andy Goldsworthy: Snow
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On View May 29, 2011 - Dec 31, 2011

British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy may well be the world’s best-known and most beloved contemporary artist. Since the late 1970s, he has traveled to sites across the globe to create an immense body of work made primarily with natural materials, among them sticks and branches, flowers and leaves, mud and stone, and rain and snow. Some of these sculptures are ephemeral, gossamer and delicate, and last only moments. Others tend towards permanence and are built of stone and based on pre-industrial architectural forms. Goldsworthy’s many and disparate works are united by their profound and multifaceted dialogues with geometry, nature, place, ritual, labor, and time expressed along several vectors: actual, experiential, seasonal, geological, historical, and cosmological.

While Goldsworthy’s most familiar works are made of wood, stone, and leaves, snow has been a vital material for his practice since the very beginning of his career. The artist is fascinated by snow as both a natural phenomenon and a sculptural material. He takes special interest in its complexity, and explains “…it is in the nature of snow to contradict. It turns the dark earth white – it can fall softly, or with a vigour that hurts. It is at the same time tough, gentle, dangerous, delicate, powerful, and hard.” 

This exhibition brings together a small cross-section of Goldsworthy’s work with this frozen precipitate. Included are several photographs of snow-related projects; two large snowball drawings, created by the residue left behind by the melting of dirty, gritty, New York City street snowballs; and the video Shadow Stone Fold, in which the artist performs in real time with snow falling gently on a massive stone at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in England.

In preparation for Goldsworthy's large-scale Sculpture Park installation, Snow House, the exhibition will include the original proposal drawings for Snow House, Goldsworthy's video artwork Snow Shadow, photographs of related ephemeral and permanent artworks, multi-media educational materials about the artist, and the historical relevance of Snow House, as well as repeated showings of the award-winning documentary on Goldsworthy, Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time.

WGBHThis exhibition is funded in part by a generous grant from the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation. A special thanks to media partner WGBH.

In a diverse career spanning three decades, Andy Goldsworthy has become one of the most prominent and iconic sculptors of our time. In photographs, sculptures, installations, and films, Goldsworthy documents his explorations of the effects of time, the relationship between humans and their natural surroundings, and the beauty in loss and regeneration.

Permanent, site-specific installations by Goldsworthy can be seen at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York; Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; the Presidio of San Francisco; and the Haute Provence Geological Reserve in Digne-les-Bains, France, among numerous other sites.

Major solo exhibitions of Goldsworthy's work have been presented by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, U.K.; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and the Des Moines Art Center. The exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park won the prestigious South Bank Show Award for visual arts in 2008.

Goldsworthy is currently working on forthcoming projects for the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts; Arts Queensland, Australia; and the Pori Art Museum in Finland. The artist was born in Cheshire, England in 1956, and is based in Scotland.

All programs are free with Museum admission

May 28, 2011: Member Preview Day 


Rivers and Tides

Repeated screenings of Rivers and Tides the award winning documentary on Andy Goldsworthy.

Wengren Room

May 29–August 28, 2011


Eye Wonder Family Program

Sunday, August 7
Drop-in 1–3 pm

This program combines careful looking with creative art making. Create an art project inspired by the Andy Goldsworthy: Snow exhibition. Best for families with children aged 6–12.


Tour and Nature Walk: Story of Ice Harvesting

This event will be held at Walden Pond

Sunday, August 21, 2–3pm

Andy Goldsworthy’s Snow House, is of particular interest to deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum because of the rich local history of ice harvesting and the establishment of granite ice houses in New England. To learn more about the history of ice harvesting at Walden Pond and how it connects to the future project of Snow House, we invite you to join us on a tour around Walden Pond to bring a visual understanding to Goldsworthy’s proposal.