Thursday, December 17, 2009

In the neighborhood

There's a sculpture that suddenly appeared in the front yard of a house just up the block. I noticed it yesterday on my way to the gym.
It's an alright piece;  One that I might notice if it were in a public park or civic setting, although it maybe a bit generic in that public sculpture kind of way.  But in this setting (complete with a plaque with artist name and sculpture title: Robert Giordano; First Gate) the work definitely has more of a charge.

Part of this charge comes from the surprising context of this work sitting on a residential front lawn.  It's a slight tangle in relation to the otherwise uprightness of the line of Victorian homes on the block.  Perhaps the only really odd thing about the presence of the sculpture here is that it is not festooned with Christmas lights.  And although the popularity of those inflatable Christmas lawn figures push the envelope of scale even further than this comparatively modest structure,  the other reason I think it works here is the relationship of the work's size to its setting. The sculpture dominates the square of lawn on which it sits in a wonderfully almost-claustrophobic manner.  Lawns are tedious, tiresome uses of space, but here that bit lawn has been deputized into an actual purpose of framing and supporting the sculpture.  The ratio of sculpture to grass here turns the normal sculpture to sculpture park relationship on its head - and it works really well in this situation....unlike this similarly but less successful tweaking of scale in a public work.

It gave me a lift to see it there.  It also reminded me of how uninterested I am in the bulk of sculpture in sited in natural settings, or conventional civic settings.

I'm intrigued by the thought of having a sculpture tour that takes place in the front lawns of residences, if only for the novelty and the potential for the absurd. 

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