Museum curators have a lot to think about: positioning, lighting, the experience a view will have as he or she moves from one display to another.
But Tom Moran, chief curator of the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, has elements to contend with (literally) that most curators don’t have to worry about: his whole exhibit is outside.
The Grounds for Sculpture is unique is a number of ways, but one of its most interesting qualities is the fact that it is constantly in flux.
The display of over 250 sculptures (with more in storage) changes as statues are rearranged or replaced, but also as the light shifts over the course of a day, as the weather takes its toll over the course of a year, or as the very landscape that surrounds the sculptures is remolded and reshaped to create different effects and experiences.
Last week, I wandered through the Grounds, both by myself and with Mr. Moran. He explained the history of the place, but also helped me understand some of the curatorial decisions behind the positioning of the sculptures.
He showed me that the Grounds are as much about landscape and plants as they are about the sculptures themselves—about the angle of a branch echoing the curve of a building and the geometry of a statue.
Every nook and cranny of this sculpture garden (and there are many—secret pathways and hidden benches and little bits of detail work) has been carefully crafted.
One of the founders, Seward Johnson, also helps to make the garden unique. His ‘Beyond the Frame’ project, a three dimensional re-imagining of various impressionist paintings, really showcases the point of the Grounds.
The statues are placed in natural settings mimicking the backdrops of the painting, bringing them to life and forcing you to consider the paintings not as little windows, but as complete scenes that you have been allowed to intrude into an explore.
Listen to my interview with Mr. Moran above, and feel free to browse our photo gallery below for a more visual experience.
If you have a special collection you’d like to talk to me about, get in touch! I would love to hear from you and hear about your collecting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org