LINCOLN, MA.- DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
presents the installation of Barbara Galluccis Utopiary Terrace, the sixth exhibition of the PLATFORM series, on display through April 24, 2011. In her functional installation, the New York and Boston-based sculptor redesigned the Museums 3rd floor lobby with her topia beanbag chairs and cork-covered terrace. Referencing manicured lawns and the designed landscape, the installation reflects Galluccis long-standing interest in iconic mid-century modern furniture design and the role of nature in contemporary culture. Installed in a glass-enclosed area of the museum, Galluccis Utopiary Terrace addresses deCordovas site as an indoor and outdoor venue for contemporary art.
Utopiary Terrace is a site-specific installation using over-scaled beanbag chairs covered in grassy shag chenille that is installed in the 3rd Floor Lobby on a layered cork platform. Topia, according to Barbara Gallucci, is a word fragment derived partly from the word utopia, an ideal but unattainable state, and topiary, an artificially sculpted landscape. The sculptures grass-like covering is a response to our societys machined approach to nature and mans desire to control our natural environment. By placing the topia chairs on a tiered platform in the Museum, Gallucci brings nature inside and displays it as a functional part of any room. The hedge-like forms of the chairs are intended as a commentary on how nature behaves for our culture and functions to provide comfort.
Associate Curator of Contemporary Art Dina Deitsch says, Barbaras fusion of landscape and modernist design is perfectly at home at deCordova, New Englands largest outdoor venue for contemporary art just minutes from the Gropius Housea masterpiece of high modernist architecture. Utopiary Terrace underscores the intertwined history and conceptual grounding of landscape architecture and the Modernist legacy, locating the Museum and Sculpture Park at an interesting nexus between the two.
Galluccis sculpture was partly inspired by the May 1989 New York Times article entitled Why Mow? The Case Against Lawns. The article examines our countrys obsession with perfectly trimmed green yards and the societal implications of an unkempt lawn. Written by Michael Pollan, who transforms his extensive lawn into gardens, the article begins with an appreciation of a vast green land and his ability to dominate it with his lawn mower. However, Pollan soon comes to loathe the ritual of cutting the grass and watching it grow throughout the week, only to result in another four-hour mowing session the following weekend. Pollan questions our need to have a well manicured lawnif we are intended to live along with nature must we change it to meet our social standards?
The idea behind Utopiary Terrace is closely linked to societys need to alter nature in order to live among it. By creating a sculpture that mimics grass, she incorporates nature into her examination, highlighting the degree to which we have since constructed our ideas about nature.