Sick of seeing, as we all are, contemporary art set against whitewashed walls and wooden floors? These gardens offer a better, more beautiful, vantage point.
“Fritz Haeg: Something for Everyone”
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street, Ridgefield, Conn.
Through Jan. 2, 2011
A home for Rocky, sans Bullwinkle. Sculptor Fritz Haeg’s witty projects for the front lawn of the Aldrich Muwseum include Animal Estate, a series of warrens designed for the property’s flying squirrels. Nearby, his giant Dancing Boardwalk invites strolls atop a gleaming wooden hexagon placed on the grass. There’s also, in the show curated by Mónica Ramírez-Montagut, an outdoor tent school, a garden and a living-room-style salon.
Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens
PepsiCo, 700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.
When PepsiCo exchanged its Manhattan headquarters for the green and pleasant lands of Purchase, N.Y., decades ago, the company’s chief executive, Donald M. Kendall, endorsed the creation of a sculpture garden in the cola corporation’s new home. It’s likely one of the few art spaces in the state that brings together the spindly Gothic forms of Alberto Giacommetti and the neo-Classical bronzes cast by Auguste Rodin. Mr. Kendall’s legacy has also provided a landscape home for works by Alexander Calder, Henry Moore and Max Ernst for window-gazing Pepsi staff and art lovers to view since 1970.
Storm King Art Center
Old Pleasant Hill Road,
Through the fall
Originally launched as an exhibition space for Hudson Valley painters, Storm King is now known, above all, for its sprawling sculpture gardens, set over 500 acres of Hudson woodland. In honor of Storm King’s 50th anniversary, curator David Collens has overseen the compilation of “5+5,” an outdoor exhibit of 10 sculptors whose work has been chosen for its fit with the surrounding landscape. The show will run through the fall, illustrating how the changing seasons influence the art. Artists on display include Andy Goldsworthy and Darrell Petit.
Through Oct. 3
It’s alive! The grass-sprouting lawn furniture, that is, that’s part of this sculpture show on busy, buzzy Governors Island. (Only in New York could you turn over much of an island to art, then turn a slice of that island into art.) “Figment” spreads 16 interactive sculptures by various artists over the manicured lawns of the former colonial outpost. 1000 Pieces is something of a gazebo made out of new-fangled Lincoln logs; Touch offers life-size inflatable white trees. There’s also a big abacus, a suite of drums to play on and a giant, tree-hugging bug. If the artists are lucky, flowers will sprout on the art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
Sculpture aficionados who visited the Met’s Big Bambú exhibition on the roof when it opened last spring don’t know the half of it. Literally. Designed to grow throughout the summer, the once 25-foot-high warren of bamboo poles designed by the Starn Brothers is now even taller, more labyrinthine and more intricate than ever. The truly unique artwork, made with the aid of rock climbers, is up only through October. Admission to the first level of the structure is free with museum admission. Tours of the super-structure are also free, but are timed, ticketed-and not for folks afraid of heights.
The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road,
Long Island City
Through Oct. 24
This Long Island City museum and garden, freshly renovated, is something of a sanctuary of sculpture. This particular show puts its entire collection on view for the first time since 2002. Using its photographic archives, the museum is displaying its spare, thoughtful and beautiful artworks as closely as possible to the way they were initially interpreted and presented by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The exhibition features the return of several big works from international collections, where they’ve been on loan, as well as significant recent acquisitions. (For true art immersion: It’s also in the neighborhood as the impressive Socrates Sculpture Park.)
Pratt Sculpture Park
200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn
The biggest sculpture garden in New York City, and one of the top 20 in the United States, is, surprisingly, at the Pratt Institute. Its sculpture park covers some 25 acres of the art school’s Clinton Hill campus and is entering its 11th year. The sculpture exhibited in the space is changed on a regular basis, with new commissions and loans appearing alongside old-faithful pieces that have become part of the landscape. New work is almost always from the studios of well-known contemporary artists, such as Mark di Suvero and Robert Indiana.