Virginia Overton presents Sculpture Gardens at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York
The Whitney Museum of American Art has commissioned artist Virginia Overton (1971, Nashville, Tennessee) to create an in situ project for the outdoor space located on the fifth floor of the museum.
Two towering windmills use the west wind blowing over the Meatpacking District, between the High Line and the Hudson River where the museum’s new building is now located, to pump air into the water of three circular basins of equal dimension. These ponds host several types of plants: water lilies, barred horsetail, colocasia (also called “elephant ears” because of the dimension of its leaves), pygmy bamboo and other plant species. Visitors can sit on wooden benches and enjoy the many perspectives the museum’s architecture offers.
The exhibition continues in two adjacent galleries, which, thanks to the glass walls, become visual extensions of the terrace and host a series of abstract and organic sculptures and installations often crafted from salvaged material from her native town, such as ropes, pieces of wood, etc… A wallpapered photograph of the American Southwest works as a transition between the terrace and the galleries (and vice versa). Thanks to the walls’ transparency, the galleries are somehow turned into interior gardens, echoing the outdoor space of the terrace and of the landscape surrounding the museum.
Additionally, the visual link between the three space — galleries, terraces and landscape — instinctively triggers a reflection on the ecosystem of the contemporary metropolis and on sustainable urban development. Surrounding the Whitney, the High Line is the only major green public space; the rest is mostly urban landscape.