Since a few decades, we are witnessing the birth of several sculpture parks or sculpture gardens all over the world and especially in the USA. These amazing open-air contemporary art museums give credit not only to the old European legacy of gardens in Renaissance villas (these were, indeed, parks with contemporary sculptures!), but especially to the more recent example of Land Art and its site-specific works, which often modified the geography of the location selected by artists. The reason why this phenomenon can be considered typical in the US goes back to the enormous natural areas of the American landscape, which was inspirational also for the gigantism in some minimalist works. These enormous sculptures involved the creation of great public spaces, where visitors could enjoy large-sized artworks, which got hardly set in museum buildings. Hence, this led to a very successful integration of art with landscape, culture and nature, in the aim of getting to environmental awareness involving visual arts, architecture and city planning.
Francesca Cigola, architect and essayist, has been carrying out a research over the identity of the American landscape for many years. The outcomes of this research are well presented in this volume: Art Parks. A Tour of America’s Sculpture Parks and Gardens, which is the first complete collection of the most important open-air sculpture gardens of North America.
From large parks in boundless natural environments, to small gardens in urban contexts, from private to museums collections, Art parks is a truly reasoned, solid though portable, guidebook, which is ordered by themes in three long chapters: Leisure Spaces, areas devoted to free time, idleness, and relax; Learning Spaces, designed for learning and hosted in museums and public spaces; Collectors’ Spaces, those parks devoted to collecting, where works from private collection are shown; finally, the section Additional Parks whit a complete list of additional parks.
To the brief, though thorough, general introduction, specific profiles ensue with illustrated and detailed descriptions of every garden and beautiful pictures of landscapes and artworks. Among the great artists: Alexander Calder, Lewis DeSoto, Olafur Eliasson, William Tucker, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Henry Moore, Isaumu Noguchi, Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Jean Dubuffet, Andy Goldsworthy, Donald Judd, and many more… (The complete index of artists in the appendix section is five pages long!). Every profile is a small essay about the story and mission of the park with a hint at useful information at the end of the page: web site, artists, and bibliography.
The book, thanks to both its format and contents, gets to the right balance between specialist essay and instructive guidebook for art and nature lovers.
• Title: Art Parks
• Author: Francesca Cigola
• Editor: Luca Sassi Editore (Ita ed.); Princeton Architectural Press (En ed.)
• Year of publication: 2013
• Price: 24,00 €
• Pages: 224