The Netherlands has a long history of going cuckoo for flowers (two words: tulip & mania), so its annual Bloemencorso (Dutch for "flower parade") should come as no surprise. Except that every float is beyond belief, and even more so when one considers that the colors & patterns are all designed with flowers. Sculptures range from the surreal—twisting buildings & floating wizards—to the familiar—delftware china & Viking ships—and all are show-stopping. Bloemencorso is like Carnevale meets Macy's Day Parade, and everything is covered with flowers.
"Sketching with flowers. Painting with clouds. Writing with water. Tracing the May wind, the path of a falling leaf. Awaiting a glacier. Bending the wind. Directing water and light. The May-green call of the cuckoo and the invisible trace of its flight."—Nils Udo, from his artist's statement.
Xavier Dumont’s hand-sculpted furniture pieces twist with an organic elegance that looks like he willed the branches to weave themselves into loose shapes. Those natural forms wind up resembling a desk, easel, mirror frame, arbor, or bench.
Seattle waited seven years for its new sculpture park to be completed, and when it opened on a sunny weekend in January of 2007, people turned out in droves. And no wonder. The nine-acre site, long a contaminated industrial blight along the city’s shoreline, has been transformed into a sophisticated urban green space by the New York firm of Weiss/Manfredi. Their design for the Olympic Sculpture Park crosses highway and train tracks to link a hip, urban neighborhood to the city’s working waterfront.
South African artist Nic Bladen tracks down endangered plants and casts them in bronze and other materials. Here he renders the natural grace of Aloe pluridens.
German artist Cornelia Konrads creates site-specific installations that appear as though the universe is reassembling itself, and you are walking in on the process. Her work has been said to convey the illusion of weightlessness of objects falling into place.
This season, Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art mounts a major retrospective of land art, the ambitious 1960s and ’70s movement that saw artists literally sculpting the earth to create works of grand scale. Often considered a renunciation of the commercial art world, pieces like Robert Smithson’s 1970 Spiral Jetty (a 1,500-foot coil of salt, mud, and rock in Utah’s Great Salt Lake) and Hans Haacke’s 1967-69 Grass Grows (a conical mound of dirt planted with grass seed) have inspired more sculpturally minded landscape architects ever since.
Photo © Guy Laramée
Ten thousand daffodils bloom in the grass courtyard of Somerset House in London. While the flowers were installed to signal the beginning of spring, they are impervious to sun or rain—each daffodil is sculpted out of clay and metal. Chilean-born, London-based artist Fernando Casasempere developed the exhibit to explore the relationship between a reliable procession of the seasons, and the increasing fragility of nature.