Friday, September 3, 2010

Magic happens at the Lynden Sculpture Garden

Anyone who has been following Arts Without Borders knows of my fondness for sculpture parks, places with that delightful dual personality so appealing to my own dual predilections: art and the wilderness. You will also have heard of Milwaukee’s lovely example, the Lynden Sculpture Garden, which opened to the public in May. (If not, see previous post.) Well, today I learned that the Lynden Garden is not simply delightful; it is magical.

The air was fresh and the lawn soggy with last night’s rain. The brown-eyed susans and goldenrod were resplendent in that slanted glow of early morning light that is soon to be dimmed by an approaching storm. As I strolled along the edge of the pond, volley after volley of tiny frogs erupted from its grassy verge, hundreds of them plopping with tiny splashes into the water. A flock of geese flew over, circled round, and fled, for once without a sound. All the while I walked along, enchanted by the contrast of motionless sculptures and restless scenery. And that was marvelous enough, but when I reached Linda Vitamas’s installation I almost felt like I’d entered a fairy tale. (OK, now if you didn’t read my earlier review of Linda’s piece, catch up by clicking here.)

When last seen . . . (imagine a low register organ in hushed tones), meager remnants of the diminutive unfired earthenware bowls lay crumbled and slowly dissolving into the rusting steel beam on which they had been so lovingly placed. But, lo and behold…(crescendo!), they have miraculously reappeared!

If you missed the original installation—as I did—now you can see the piece as it was intended to be seen when installed. Except that there is a significant difference: the current iteration of the piece combines the new little pots—sprung up on the steel bar like mushrooms after a rain—with the last residual crumbs of the old. Most of the original pottery has returned to its earthen nature, some has washed entirely away. The new little bowls, in casual stacks, contain puddles of yesterday’s rain, the beginnings of the next cycle of decay and dissolution. “And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from,” in T.S. Eliot’s famous words.

Lovely. The artist as Tinkerbell, waves her wand and up sprout new little art forms. I’m enthralled.

But—full disclosure—I am not a dispassionate observer. (Passionate, definitely passionate!) I was on the grounds today to do my own bit of conjuring. As I reported earlier, Vitamas and Kevin Giese collaborated in an on-going project of the Garden called Inside/Outside. I am honored to have been invited to do the next installation in the series. My collaborator is Phil Krejcarek, professor of art at Carroll University, which hosted my installation last year called Accidental Art: construction fences in the landscape. Stay tuned for more details to follow, but the show, which opens Oct. 24, will involve fences and sculptures.

To see examples from Accidental Art, go to my website.


  1. I look forward to seeing what you and Phil decide to create. A fascinating duo.

  2. Outstanding job with the post!! You are really amazing !! The way you come up with the good stuff makes your readers visit your site frequently!