Exploring Landscapes at the National Building Museum

image: Alexandra Hay

image: Alexandra Hay

Earlier this month on March 12, visitors to the National Building Museum in Washington, DC were greeted by an usual sight in the museum’s monumental Great Hall: a life-size plan of a garden, being artfully arranged and re-arranged by visitors of all ages.

Even more impressive was the view from the second story, which provided a better sense of the overall plan from above, and how it relates to the experience of walking the space down below. By bringing a plan drawing to life and making it interactive, the event gave participants a chance to experience and understand more fully how the plan drawings landscape architects create translate into actual spaces—a chance to bridge the gap between 2D and 3D.

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Arbori(culture): Art & Ecology

An interior view of John Grade's Middle Fork installation at the Renwick Gallery image: Alexandra Hay

An interior view of John Grade’s Middle Fork installation at the Renwick Gallery
image: Alexandra Hay

The speaker at a recent event at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC, was not an artist, curator, or art historian, but an arborist. Gregory Huse, Arborist and Tree Collection Manager for the Smithsonian Gardens, focused on John Grade’s Middle Fork installation in his talk, entitled “The Crossroads of Art, Nature and Ecology.” The piece consists of a tree, suspended sideways from the ceiling. Taking up the entire room, the sculpture is simultaneously massive and airy, moving slightly as visitors walk around it and shot through with light, evoking the dappled look of sunlight filtered through a forest’s leaves.

The Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, reopened in November after an extensive two-year renovation with the exhibition WONDER. Middle Fork, in addition to installations by Maya Lin, Patrick Dougherty, and Janet Echelman, is one of the nine pieces included in this exhibition, which has drawn record crowds.

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Heading to the Beach this Weekend?

The boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park image: Alexandra Hay

The boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park
image: Alexandra Hay

With Memorial Day weekend comes the unofficial start of summer, and though the water may still be chilly at this time of year, many people will be heading to the closest beach for some start-of-summer celebrations.

For those in New York, and especially on Long Island, Jones Beach State Park is a destination that epitomizes summer. Though only 20 miles from New York City, Jones Beach could not feel further removed from the suburbs nearby, only a few causeways away. And, like Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Jones Beach is a site that has been dramatically transformed to create the iconic space we enjoy today.

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