Monday, September 22, 2014

Grounds For Sculpture

We heard through various people that there was a fun sculpture garden somewhere in NJ near my parents' house, so during our recent visit home we looked it up and checked it out.  Grounds For Sculpture is a 42 acre park and museum with over 270 works on display.  It was founded by artist Seward Johnson, and it is currently holding a retrospective of his work.  There are many other artists' contemporary sculptures on display throughout the gardens.......

....but everywhere are what Seward is most known for, his life-size tromp l'oeil painted bronze statues "celebrating the familiar" - everyday people doing everyday things.

The grounds themselves are beautiful, with water features, gardens, and tree lined paths.  Most of the outdoor statues and sculptures are meant to be interacted with!

Many of Seward's works on display are part of "Icons Revisited," works inspired by famous images, like paintings and photographs.  Among them, Renoir's "The Luncheon of the Boating Party," Edward Munch's "The Scream," and a 26 foot tall Marilyn Monroe.

Joseph not only got an interesting perspective up Ms. Monroe's skirt, but had fun inserting himself into famous paintings like "Girl With a Pearl Earring," "Mona Lisa," and "American Gothic."

The water garden was probably my favorite area, and I particularly liked this work called "Relative."

In one of the indoor spaces was a display called "Beyond the Frame," where Seward reproduced famous paintings three dimensionally, and people are encouraged to fully interact in and with the environment.  There are cameras set up so you can see what look like the paintings framed in the hall, but then people just show up in them!

So much more to see outside...... another one I particularly liked was "King Lear." (As an aside, Joseph is coincidentally loving King Lear and other children's versions of Shakespeare right now, so that was fun for him to see.  He could not, however, remember any of King Lear's 3 daughters' names.)

We even came upon another version of "American Gothic" outside, but the scale of this thing is huge!  The corn is dwarfed next to it.

Our last area to visit was The Meadow, home to one of one of the most well known sculptures to us. I would not have been able to tell you that Seward was the artist behind "The Awakening," which is such an iconic sculpture in the DC area, now residing at National Harbor.  We were so surprised to find a copy of the 70 foot long, 5 part statue of a giant emerging from the earth, with its 17 foot tall arm reaching into the sky, here in my home state!

Whether you visit "The Awakening" in NJ or DC, a kid is always going pick the giant's nose, for sure.

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