Friday, January 22, 2010

No More Moore...

After two weeks of de-installation, the twenty sculptures from Moore in America departed the Atlanta Botanical Garden througout the day today. The seven trucks are headed for Denver, where they will go on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Although it was sad to see the exhibition leave, we are all truly thankful to have made so many new friends from England, Denver, and here at home.

Monday, November 2, 2009

No crates? No cranes? No trucks???

What's going on here...?...

There are no crates to put the sculptures in...

no cranes to move them about...

and no trucks to take them away!
Must be...
Moore in America has been extended through the end of December! Now you'll have time to bring holiday guests to the Garden to see the show and seasonal attractions. Enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Frog Blog: What's that NOISE?

If you visit the Conservatory to see Working Model for Standing Figure Knife Edge you may find yourself serenaded. That's because the Conservatory is teaming with frogs and other critters. I highly recommend you stop by at night. The chorus is crazy loud, and the subdued lighting makes the theatrically lit piece "pop" even more. Some folks are able to find the tiny frogs (1/2" or so?) by following their sound. I not that talented and require a guide...someone like our amphibian conservation scientist, Dante Fenolio, who submitted today's blog:

Epipedobates tricolor with tadpoles

The Conservatory is home to a number of free ranging amphibians and reptiles. Visitors get to experience the loud trill-like vocalizations of poison frogs during the day. For example, we have quite a population of Phantasmal Poison Frogs hopping around that make their presence obvious through their loud calls. These small frogs (roughly an inch in total length) are rust to maroon in color with stripes (full or broken) that range from mint green to pale blue in color. Originally from Ecuador, males of this species vocalize to attract potential mates and to advertise territorial boundaries to potential rivals. Females deposit a clutch of eggs on the damp forest floor. Males allow the hatching tadpoles to squirm onto their backs, after which they carry them to a pond. The tadpoles develop in the pool form that point onward. The presence of free ranging amphibian populations in the Conservatory is special because the Garden’s frogs represented the first free ranging population of poison frogs displayed in the United States.

Eleutherodactylus coqui calling

As the sun sets, the cast of characters in our Conservatory changes. Just as our poison frogs are settling down for a nights rest, Puerto Rican Coqui Frogs, Green House Frogs, and Tokay Geckos begin to stir and to fill the night air with their vocalizations. The Coqui Frogs are famous on the island of Puerto Rico for their two tone call. We have hundreds of these frogs living in the conservatory and the chorus that they create on warm summer evenings can be deafening. Adding to the chorus are the repetitive peeps that Greenhouse Frogs produce. Not to be outdone, the Tokay Geckos produce a loud two part bark that can’t be missed. For those that haven’t experienced a tropical forest at night, our Conservatory is certainly a good introductory experience.

Exposing the public to a realistic representation of a tropical forest, through our Conservatory, is important to the conservation mission at the Garden. When people experience the feel of a tropical forest, we hope that they will begin to develop an appreciation for the complexity and the beauty these forests have. Following suit, we hope that folks will support conservation efforts to conserve these rapidly dwindling natural resources. Special moonlight tours are often offered via our website. With flashlight in hand, we like to offer these nocturnal experiences which expose the public to a fantastic resource that all Atlantans have in their own back yard. If you have a chance, please check in with the website from time to time and come by to experience the amphibians and reptiles in our Conservatory at night.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Alice, Elisabeth, and Henry

Things have been HOPPING at the Garden. Last week we opened Scarecrows in the Garden with 107 participants, and kicked it all off with the Fest-of-Ale. Around 1000 people were at the Garden for the event last Thursday night, enjoying Moore, scarecrows, beer, and banjo music! The festivities continue all month, so come out and join us for the final weeks of Moore in America.

The following post is from one of our fabulous and amazing volunteers Alice Pugh and her young friend Elisabeth.

Alice: Elisabeth visit’s Moore in the garden. She consults her map to find the names of the sculptures.

We entered thru’ the Visitors Center and found Three Piece Reclining Figure Draped at our first stop. She learned what reclining meant . Then we stopped at Draped Reclining Mother and Baby. This lady and her baby were so high that Elisabeth climbed up on the rock wall and walked back and forth to get a closer look. “I found the baby’s ear” she exclaimed. Now we both knew to look for more details.
Seated Woman is at the top of that hill. We checked the name at number 4 on the guide. “What do you think?, " I asked. “I like it!
Alice: We walked to the blue and silver Chihuly glass in the fountain. The sparkle, colors and sound of water were irresistible. Perfect time for a photo op.

Elisabeth: I really liked the fountain with all the glass and water spraying everywhere. I wish I had one like this at my house!

Alice: Next stop: Large Totem Head. Elisabeth thought the large opening and shiny rib between the openings were eyes with a nose.
Elisabeth: This (Large Totem Head) looks like a big face with a long nose and huge eyes. I think it would make a cool Halloween mask - but it might be too heavy to wear trick-or-treating. I think I would scare everyone and that no one would recognize me.
Alice: Then we visited another reclining figure, Reclining Figure: Angles. This lady had more defined features on her face. Elisabeth noticed the knot on the back of her head and the funny angle of her head and neck. We noticed her large feet.

Elisabeth: This statue (Reclining Figures:Angles)was cool, because it is sitting down with her head turned all around her, like an owl can do. I wish I could turn my head like that.

Alice: No visit is complete without making a wish at the Moon Gate to the Japanese Garden. We make a our wish. When we stopped at Reclining Mother and Child, Elisabeth did not think that the child looked like a baby. When I asked about a papoose, she said, “No.”

Elisabeth: I liked the fish in the ponds alot. It looked like there was lettuce for them to eat on the top of the water. I also liked the real frogs in the pond.

Alice: Large Reclining Figure had to be viewed from the back away from the Great Lawn. The structure for the Garden of Eden Ball was under construction. Elisabeth thought the lady had her mouth open to the sky. On a tour earlier in September, a second grade boy thought she had a big hole in her head. All is in the eye of the beholder.

When we visited Goslar Warrior, Elisabeth found his ear on the side of his head. Her first thought was that the shield looked like a jar lid. Elisabeth really liked the view of the Atlanta skyline thru the opening in Oval with Two Points in the Bog Garden.

Elisabeth: I like looking through this (Oval with Points) to see all the buildings downtown. It made them look closer to me.

Alice: When we found Mother and Child in the Orchid Center, we saw the two people mentioned in the title. When we looked more carefully on the right side of the work, there was a third arm that can not belong to either Mother or child. Elisabeth said the arm and hand were too big for the baby and in the wrong place for the Mother. We decide that the Daddy was the only person left to imagine.

I knew that I would find more if I listened to a child. Elisabeth, a first grader from DeKalb County, showed me more than I had found on my own. Thank you Elisabeth for spending your afternoon visiting Moore in Atlanta.

Elisabeth: This statue (Mother and Child) reminded me of my mom holding me when I was very, very tiny. She can't hold me just like this anymore, because I'm bigger now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Celebrating Moore

Today's guest blog is submitted by Tracy McClendon, our education director. Tracy has been with the Garden since 1998, beginning as a horticulturist to work on the Children’s Garden. She then spent two years managing Youth Programs before becoming the Director of Education in 2002. She has a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from New College of Florida, fell in love with public gardens while volunteering at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL, and has also worked at Cheekwood in Nashville, TN and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Here is Tracy's blog:

I first met David Mitchinson when he came to Atlanta for an early site visit for the Moore in America exhibition. David, who first began working with Henry Moore in 1968, is the Head of Collections and Exhibitions for the Henry Moore Foundation. As such, has curated Henry Moore exhibitions in more than 40 countries. Struck by his British charm and encyclopedic knowledge of Henry Moore’s work, I immediately asked him if he would present a lecture sometime during the Moore in America exhibition, and he was gracious enough to accept.

The lecture, which will be followed by a book-signing will be on Wednesday, September 30, 2009, from 7:30 – 8:30 pm. Admission is free, and you don’t need to register ahead of time—just come on out!

In the run-up to the lecture, I spoke with David and asked him a few of my burning questions.

David Mitchinson, Head of Collections and Exhibitions,
The Henry Moore Foundation

T: What makes the exhibition here in Atlanta different from others you have staged?

D: The key thing for me about Atlanta is that it’s a very special garden. The flora is different, and colors are different because it’s a different part of the world. It’s visually exciting.
Movement around the Garden with these large sculptures was challenging. Also, the Atlanta Botanical Garden was under construction during the planning process, so we were planning from paper for part of the show. It was very difficult to know what it was going to look like before it was all planted.

T: What makes this particular exhibition different from the same show staged at Kew Gardens and The New York Botanical Garden?

D: All three gardens were very different venues, and all were exciting to do for different reasons. Kew and the New York Botanical Garden are both very large and feel a bit more like parks.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is a garden within a park; a small, controlled, and confined space. That was challenging for placement. It’s a question of scale, where we were placing very large sculptures in small garden spaces. I don’t mean that as a detriment. Sculpture does need some sort of containment. It’s just figuring out how to use it.

T: What's your favorite placement at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and why?
D: I have three. I love the way Three Piece Reclining Figure: Draped turned out. Of course, it’s in a new garden, so it was placed “blind”, before we knew exactly what the garden would look like.

Goslar Warrior was a marvelous opportunity to place a piece in water. I like that visitors can get close to it and view it all around.
Goslar Warrior

And I personally loved putting the Upright Motives in the cactus garden. That was a great moment—combining two of my enthusiasms—cactus and Henry Moore.
Upright Motives

T: Are there any placements you don’t care for?
D: Reclining Figure: Arch Leg is pushed back too close to the boundary. I know that we had to do that because of fire truck and crane access, but for me it doesn’t quite work there.
Three Piece Reclining Figure Draped

T: What was Henry Moore like?

D: Incredibly active. Not “precious”—how would Americans say it? So many artists are “fussy”, you know, but he was very down to earth and straightforward. He was never really happy unless he was working—a workaholic.

T: What do you like most about your job?
D: Meeting so many lovely people. Travelling with the work, I’ve had the opportunity to meet creators and designers and exhibition managers through the world. At the end of the day, everyone is working very hard to achieve a good result and present the work of a great artist to the public.

Those were a few of my questions. Come out to the Garden for the lecture on September 30th to hear more from David Mitchinson and ask him your own questions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Big Draw

Arist Mario Schambon looks on as visitors investigate his artwork.
Today's guest blogger is Laura Hennighausen. (Her last name is German for "house of Henry".) She's been with the Garden for two years, and works in education. She is our resident expert in art and fashion. Who else styles their bright green Moore in America t-shirt with an adorable cropped yellow cardigan? Alas, I digress... Here is Laura's wonderful post all about THE BIG DRAW:
Volunteer Jimmy Dills demonstrates ways to draw with multimedia.
Drawing and painting are often activities adults view as enterprises best reserved for those with training or that ‘natural’ talent few seem to possess. What happened to the days of intricate finger-painting and underappreciated yet dedicated murals drawn on the dining room wall? Art used to be an equal-opportunity fun fest...and that’s what we are striving to resurrect with The Big Draw, a once-a-month event thoughout the Moore in America exhibition.
The Big Draw began in the UK 10 years ago as an event to encourage people of all ages and skill levels to pick up a pencil, paintbrush, stick, anything and start drawing. Kew Gardens held their own Big Draw event during their time with the Henry Moore exhibition and we felt it was a natural fit for us at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. This Saturday, September 19th as well as Saturday, October 17th (International Big Draw Month!) we are offering $2 off admission to anyone who comes to the garden with art supplies. From 10am-1pm visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a chalk mural, a paper mural, create a colorful interpretation of some of Moore’s sculptures and create a multi-media masterpiece. Several guest artists will be working throughout the Garden to inspire and answer any questions.
Volunteer Tammy Bezona helps visitors add to a large mural that will be
displayed at October’s pin-up show.
In October in honor of the Big Draw’s ten year anniversary, artists of all kinds will also be invited to participate in a Pin-Up show the day of October 17th. Artwork made during the Big Draw will have the chance to be displayed for all to see in a temporary outdoor display overlooking Moore’s sculptures. What better excuse to break out those stick figures and hand turkeys?

Volunteer Polly Sanders assists children in coloring their
interpretations of Moore’s work as Large Reclining Figure looks on.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moore Dreaming...

Hilary Nichols, Senior Horticulturist, is today's guest blogger. The beds Hilary maintains are easily the most steadily impacted by our major sculpture exhibitions. I remember her asking me how everyone else was managing to keep up with their plantings during our last installation, and I had to gently tell her only her beds had sculpture in them. This time, when she found out "the big girl" was planned for Strickland Border, she took a deep breath and said "I've guess I've been wanting to renovate anyway. And maybe this will help get rid of some of the nematodes." Talk about spin! She was trying really hard to find comfort in what was obviously going to be some major disruption, but her attitude was always positive and she's help make the placement a stunning success.
I'll point out that although we did do some custom landscape designs for some of the works, we decided against it with this bed. It seemed more appropriate to just see what would happen, rather than try to control the riot of color and texture. The landscape changes constantly, and it's one of the most dynamic sites in the show both day and night.
Hilary Nichols:
“Dream a little dream in my little corner of the world…” Welcome to my late season garden, bubbling with perennial flowers!
Long ago on a chilly day red, orange, and white flags began popping up in my garden, four scattered in kind of a large rectangle and four in a tight square. They shuffled around over a few weeks or days, estimated into place where the odd-shaped sculpture might sprawl. Now it was time to move my leafy green children out from under where milady’s butt and hand soon would be! By then the thousands of yellow daffodils and red tulips the staff and volunteers of ABG planted a few months ago for our bulb eXPLOsion had smothered the garden and mingled with the excavation flags.
Too sad to merely trample all this beauty on my way to saving my painstakingly chosen, designed, watered, pruned, loved-on perennials, I go about salvaging the bulbs first. It was the strangest sight to have the center of the garden missing a huge rectangle of red tulips, but there were many in the offices of Gardenhouse whose desks were brightened by full vases! Next I pocked the spot with divots where my perennials had lived so long. Each plant carefully re-arranged out of harm's way. The towering joe-pye plants are the most outstanding change, puffs newly scattered behind milady. Once the huge landmark in this garden, the joe-pye plants are dwarfed next to her. These plants never would have found their new homes in time without Joshua (Hardin Construction) and his crew’s generous help strong-arming huge root clumps into place! I had just lost my assistant to a promotion into the woodland expansion. Cut along strict square lines, an amazing half of the banana left the spot where milady’s hand would be, off on an adventure to taste new soils in another garden bed. (you can never tell it’s missing)
The banana was such an awkward leaden lump with water weight. It really took teamwork with Hardin Construction’s grinning thrill-talking Joshua to introduce the banana-half to its new home. Freed of much-loved encumberments, the excavating, concrete-base-building could now begin. Huge machines delicately lifted soil away to shape a perfect rectangle underground without even touching the surrounding green display. Robins flew in and lifted any worms that may have been troubling the machines in between every metal swipe. Concrete filled much of the hole, measured to the last tenth of an inch by Joshua and his crew's surveyor's sights. Milady will sit solid. As spring warmed, the British Henry Moore crew came over with their multiple crane sizes and James’ roiling teasing good humor.
Peek-a-boo Laura!
Each piece dangled over my plants until a few small fingers from in the hollow guts of milady helped them drift to line up just right over inner bolt-holes. Afterwards all milady’s connecting cracks and wrinkles were carefully painted and polished smooth, good as new!Now it was just up to my plants to reach up out of the ground, stretch after the long winter, and do their thing. I hope you don’t notice, -shhhh- but part of their job is as ladies-in-waiting, to softly and elegantly restrain you from getting up close and personal. Milady is genteel! Not to mention all the flowers and expectant perennials with buds need their breathing room too.
Milady could use a little leafy mystery enclosing her. Especially on a hot summer’s day, morning sweat wiggles down her back in a most undignified way. And did you see that Goslar Warrior! Watching her from across the lawn.

In spring you can look from behind the foxgloves if you like.
All-in-all, this sculpture is made for this spot. The way her legs arch up, framing the view of the flowers beyond. The way the tall perennials in this garden reach up and clothe her in purple and green lace. The way the leaves tickle her armpit, you’d think milady’s arm was designed to arch over the banana. I’ll tell you a secret- that placement happened in winter, while all the plants were quiet underground. As the banana reaches higher through the year, its leaves blow, bang and break on milady and must be pruned away.
The white lady, as I call her, starts to hide behind the taller trunks of the banana and whole stalks are brought down. Not to worry, the banana thicket stays full and fresh with this kind of thinning!
And just think, all of those pristine white arches came from, and soon will go back into, a simple box! It’s amazing the way beautiful plants and the best sculptures come together for a time. Come enjoy our garden dreams that sparkle like bubbles in the sun!
Check out the Georgia Perennial Plant Association‘s monthly meetings at the History Center or come take a class from me at the Atlanta Botanical Garden to learn more about plants like the ones surrounding milady!