Once we decided on the sculpture by Marc Rosenquist, we had to figure out how to get it into a garden in full growth. Before knowing exactly where we wanted to position it, or how far it would have to be transported, Marc and Gail brought it over in their Range Rover. Little did they know what awaited--how to move a 300 to 400 pound bronze object several hundred feet along a curving gravel path, through plants, and into position in a fully grown garden. We had to improvise.
But first things first.
We had visited Marc's and Gail's home a couple of weeks before to see his collection. We didn't know we were doing more than exploring, just looking and thinking. I particularly liked this bumpy ball.
I knew just where this one would go. It has a natural or a "found object" quality, and it evokes suggestions of mysterious origins--excavation of an archaeological artifact, a giant nugget of minerals, a mysterious object dug out of the ground, a weird boulder of argellite (our local stone), possibly a carefully shaped message from the past. And it has a certain playfulness about it.
Ironically, after talking to Mark and Gail, I discovered that Marc's father, an airline pilot, often took the family on archaeological digs, and this sculpture just happens to be a scaled up replica of a relatively common Pre-Columbian object, though no one knows its purpose, if it had one. So I suppose my intuition, at least in this case, was right.
Marc also has several elongated sculptures I believe he calls "trees." This one was resting against a large tree trunk when I first saw it. Here you see it leaning beside a white doorway, not a great background. But this one would be perfect as a vertical element, either mounted as an upright, or leaning against a tree on the edge of the garden, where it would be a surprise, visible only on close observation.
Here's the top, showing the texture and striations in the bronze.
And here is another of the "trees," just lying on the ground.
This was another favorite (for scale, think large, four or five feet long). Obviously, it needs a position in the open.
A close-up of the surface texture ...
Okay--this one too. Again I can find thematic connections with my garden's "story," and it would look very good over in a dark corner near the woodland edge, or as a feature in the woodland garden (to be) ... a giant, overscale object, five feet in diameter?
But we ultimately decided on this one. A strange object, humorous, evocative, threatening in a way. Attractive here in the open on Marc's and Gail's lawn, but in my garden it would always be partially hidden by plants. William Martin has suggested I need a bunch of these, in different sizes, scattered about the garden. I like that idea. Marc?
And this, perhaps on the terrace, in some kind of axial arrangement ...
Speaking of axial arrangement, look at the two together. That's a powerful combination, really defining the space in a way that pulls the whole landscape toward a focal point.
Marc's and Gail's garden is arranged along the banks of a small stream. Not minimal at all, quite profuse really, but treated as a minimal element in relation to the lawn and the house complex. So very different from Federal Twist, where the garden rushes up to the house in a wave of vegetable force ("vegetable" in the old sense: "Had we but world enough, and time . . . /My vegetable love should grow/Vaster than empires and more slow." - Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress.). And the point of this ramble? Just that sculpture can be used in different ways in different environments.
Marc, Gail, and Phil in our ramble around their lawn ...
Marc, pondering a question, just looking, perhaps wondering whether he really wants to lose a work that's been in his life for 20 years?
The terrace, very Italian, and they love Italy ... not really relevant to this post ... or is anything irrelevant?
The terrace is part of the story, after all ... where we talked, settled in, and made the deal ...
Getting it in PlaceAs I was saying at the start, we had to move this heavy object several hundred feet. Marc, also being a fine wood craftsman, had brought boards cut to the right length to roll it out of the Range Rover to the ground.
I believe it was Gail who thought to bring a rug and quilt. So as Marc rolled the piece along the gravel path, he made frequent stops so Gail could alternately move the rug or the quilt from the back to the front, then Marc would roll it a little further. About half way down to the garden, I joined in the rolling, thinking I would be of help, but not realizing Gail had the really hard job.
Finally we got it to the back side of the garden, eyeballed a path through some semi-sacrificial plants, and slowly, and very carefully, tumbled it end over end into place.
Photos at Federal Twist courtesy Gail Deery
Coda - Some of Marc's Other Work
Gail sent me a few pics of Marc's other work, mostly metal, some in wood ...
1992- Printmaking Fellowship Award, Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
1990- National Endowment of the Arts, Sculpture Award,
1990- New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Visual Arts Grant, NJ
1990- Louise Cramer Award, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
1988- New Jersey State Council of the Arts, Visual Arts Grant, NJ
1982- New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Visual Arts Grant, NJ
1980- Ford Foundation Grant, New York, NY
1979- Ford Foundation Grant, New York, NY
2005- “Sculpture Selection,” Harrison Street Gallery, Frenchtown, NJ
2003- “New Jersey Prints,” Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick, NJ
2001- “Off the Wall,” Bristol-Myers Squibb Gallery, Princeton, NJ
1993- “Fellowship Recipients,” Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, NJ
1992- “Sculpture,” Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1991- “Marc Rosenquist,” solo exhibition, Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1991- “New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship Exhibition,” Bristol-Myers Squibb Gallery, Princeton, NJ
1991- “September Survey,” Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1990- “Gallery Artists,” Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1990- “Art Now, Contemporary Philadelphia Artists,” Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
1989- “Gallery Survey of Artists,” Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1989- “Introducing,” Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1987- “Six Sculptors,” 55 Mercer Gallery, New York, NY
1986- “Solo Exhibition, Marc Rosenquist,” Educational Testing Center, Princeton, NJ
1986- “Outdoor/Indoor,” Ramapo College, NJ
1985- “Recent,” New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ
1984- “Iron Cast,” Pratt Institute Gallery, New York, NY
1984- “Public Art Trust,” Washington Square Park, Washington DC
1983- “Sculpture,” 14 Sculpture Gallery, New York, NY
1982- “S/300,” Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
1981- “Newark Museum Third Biennial,” Newark, NJ
1981- “Sculpture 1981,” Grace Gallery, New York, NY
New Jersey State Council on the Arts
Newark Public Library
Jersey City Museum
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum
New Jersey State Museum
Dieu Donne Paper Inc.
The Montclair State Museum
Philadelphia Savings Fund Collection
Judith and David Brodsky Collection