Friday, October 10, 2008

River Sculpture

This was my first year to go to River Sculpture, a juried, contemporary outdoor sculpture exhibition, now in its third year. The name River Sculpture comes from its former home at the French Broad River Park in Asheville NC. I drove by that park one day. My reaction was, that's nice. I should stop in one day to walk around.

The sculpture exhibit moved to a new location this year on Reynolds Mountain, just outside the Asheville city limits in Woodfin. Never having been before, it can't be said I had a preformed opinion about the location. When I managed to find the exhibit behind a shopping center and a large construction site I was totally horrified and appalled by the location chosen for such a show.

The sculptures were set out in a huge open grassy space that is prepped and ready to go for the construction of who knows what kind of development. It looked like one sculpture was set on each building lot. They were lost in this immense space.

Can you spot the sculptures?

It did not help that it was raining, but the nice paved roads and the complete absence of other people made a drive by sculpture exhibition possible. Even so, I had a hard time imagining walking this dreadful place to view the sculptures.

One would think a sculpture specifically intended for the outdoors would rely to a large degree on its immediate surroundings to give it some meaning and substance. A sculpture not in tune with its site will strike a sour note. The large vacuum at this new site dwarfed the sculptures, made them feel small and wrecked the pleasure one would hope to have at such a show.

If I was one of the artists, I think I would be pissed. A sculpture in a bed of mulch?

We have seen this person's work before at the Arboretum. I like it. If I was a diligent blogger, I would note the name of the artist. Bad blogger.

Three kinds of construction, a creation of context.

This stonework was not part of the show, but it could have been. These two pictures are of one long wall.

There were several dry stack boulder walls like this being built as part of the development. They were the one sculptural element in this space large enough to grab your attention. My what nice rocks you have.

Then my company and I drove up the mountain behind the sculpture exhibit to discover a neighborhood of giant houses, the million dollar mansion kind with tons of fancy landscaping. I could work in this neighborhood. Now why didn't I take more pictures of that? The most interesting flower was in front of the house with the most hideous color. Anyone know what this yellow blooming machine is?

Then back to the city for dinner and another walk about downtown.

Context helps.

Someone needs to have a little talk with the directors of River Sculpture. The least they could have done was rented some potted shrubberies or coupled the sculptors with landscape professionals and made it into a garden show as well.


Anonymous said...

That has got to be the worst exhibit anywhere. Can't figure out their reasoning's.

Les said...

What on earth were they thinking, putting that art in that space. I can only hope they were trying to make some oblique reference to art, sprawl, or politics,

I think that your blooming machine, may be Helianthus angustifolius.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with everything you said, Christopher. What at AWFUL setting for the sculpture, and yes, nice rocks.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the comments on the sculpture exhibit. As for Reynolds Mountain, I can tell you some interesting stories about that place one day...It wasn't too long ago that it wasn't a neighborhood of big mansions.

Christopher C. NC said...

Thanks Les. I think that is it. I saw much taller ones at the Arboretum.

Sounds like an interesting conversation next time we meet Siria.

Kim even my big boulders are not that square. One day I'll rent a machine to place them.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a shame to take perfectly good sculpture and use it as a magnet to get people to look at prospective building sites. Geez

lisa said...

I'm with you. Worst. Display. Ever.

Anonymous said...

You are coming along nicely with the cozy cabin. I talked with Pat R. and we conjointly missed you.
Don and Donald of Maui have now re-located to Bellevue,WA, so I see a lot of them about.
Miss you. Chuck is fine. Possibly a dog in our future.