Friday, January 22, 2010
Monday, November 2, 2009
There are no crates to put the sculptures in...
no cranes to move them about...
Monday, October 19, 2009
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
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.
Elisabeth: I really liked the fountain with all the glass and water spraying everywhere. I wish I had one like this at my house!
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: 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.
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.
Friday, September 18, 2009
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.
The Henry Moore Foundation
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.
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.
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
Volunteer Jimmy Dills demonstrates ways to draw with multimedia.
Volunteer Tammy Bezona helps visitors add to a large mural that will be
displayed at October’s pin-up show.
Volunteer Polly Sanders assists children in coloring their
interpretations of Moore’s work as Large Reclining Figure looks on.
Friday, September 11, 2009
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.
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 http://www.georgiaperennial.org/ or come take a class from me at the Atlanta Botanical Garden to learn more about plants like the ones surrounding milady! http://www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/events/ListClasses.do