June 15, 2012
The Philadelphia Museum Of Art Welcomes A Brand New Public Garden, A Horticultural Artwork By Painter Sol LeWitt Called Lines In Four Directions In Flowers
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, recently unveiled local landscape architectural firm Olin’s execution of a gorgeous new garden at the museum’s West entrance.
It’s a horticultural artwork by Sol LeWitt called Lines in Four Directions in Flowers, located adjacent to the Philadelphia Museum of Art Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden on a long rectangular plot of land in the William M. Reilly Memorial at Fairmount Park.
A leading figure in the Conceptual Art movement, LeWitt (1928-2007) conceived this garden installation 30 years ago, yet it has remained unrealized until now.
LeWitt designed Lines in Four Directions in Flowers back in 1981 when he was invited by the Fairmount Park Art Association to prepare a proposal for a public work at a site in Fairmount Park. LeWitt suggested an installation which would consist of flower plantings of “four different colors (white, yellow, red and blue) in four equal rectangular areas, in rows of four directions (vertical, horizontal, diagonal left and right) framed by evergreen hedges.
The difficulty of executing the project, which was finally completed in early April of this year, lies in the lifecycle of the flowers. Olin was required to figure out the types of plants, their height, distance apart and planting details so as to ensure that the exact mix of color was construed in each stripe and is maintained for as long as possible given the seasonal changes in Philadelphia.
The result? Each color palette contains four to five species that bloom sequentially for a continuing display from spring through fall. In total, the colored quadrants contain more than 7,000 plants. So cool!
Each of the four flower beds measures 4,320 square feet, resulting in a total area of 17,280 square feet — nearly one third the size of a football field.
Two of LeWitt’s sculptures, Steps and Pyramid, are actually located in the sculpture garden, and the museum has another piece of his art in its Modern collection indoors as well. LeWitt also designed the blue barrel-vaulted ceiling of geometric patterns in the museum’s modern and contemporary galleries.
Lines in Four Directions in Flowers will be on view over the next two years. The first of the flowering perennials planted in each section have begun to bloom, with other flowers of the same color blooming throughout the summer and early fall. It’s a must-see when you next visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or when you’re nearby on Kelly Drive or at Water Works Restaurant.
Sol LeWitt’s Lines in Four Directions in Flowers
Philadelphia Museum of Art West Entrance, 26th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway