Okay, you like art, but you also want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. As it turns out, you can have your cake and eat it too at these outdoor sculpture parks.
IRRESISTIBLY EXTINCT: The handsome Suchomimus (crocodile-mimic) greets visitors to the Dinosaur Place in Connecticut.
Arts on the Point Sculpture Park, University of Massachusetts, Columbia Point, Boston
Mark di Suvero’s 1984–’85 Huro, a 30,000-pound abstract steel-beam assemblage, stands 30-feet-tall on the school’s front lawn and resembles a giant magnet atop a giant tripod. It might seem just a big, ugly brute, if not for the freely rotating top that teeters delicately in the harbor breeze. Also displayed on the 200-acre campus: abstract blocks, lumps, and bullets by Tony Smith, Sol Lewitt, Williem de Kooning, Dennis Oppenheim, and William Tucker — plus a fiberglass “Steel Worker” and leaping alligators by Luis Jimenez.
DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Garden, Lincoln, MA
The 79 pieces of modern and contemporary sculpture on display at the 35-acre museum grounds include: Jim Dine’s giant black hearts, Kitty Wales’s steel sharks flying through trees, Paul Matisse’s The Musical Fence chimes, and Gail Simpson and Aristotle Georgiades’s giant pink Trojan Piggybank. Also check out the museum’s “Annual Exhibition,” an indoor round-up of what’s interesting in New England art; it’s open through August 20.
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, Springfield, MA
“Life-size” bronze sculptures of Theodor Geisel, a/k/a Dr. Seuss, and his famous characters are on display at the hometown hero’s Springfield garden. Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, Sam-I-Am, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Lorax, a tower of turtles from Yertle the Turtle, the Grinch, and his dog Max are all here. The sculptures were designed and sculpted by the famous author’s step-daughter.
Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain
This 250-acre 19th-century garden cemetery features magnificent examples of memorial sculpture and architecture by folks such as Daniel Chester French. In recent years, the cemetery has added contemporary sculpture — including a family of ghostly wire-mesh dresses and nightshirts hovering in a stand of trees. Fifteen artists and architects take on the theme of “Dwelling: Memory, Architecture and Place” in an outdoor exhibit from June 24 through October 31.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH
In the gardens of the 19th-century sculptor’s home and studio are three large sculptures — versions (in some cases, recent casts) of the Robert Gould Shaw monument at Boston Common; the monument to Civil War Admiral David Farragut in New York; and the cemetery monument to historian Henry Adams’s wife, Marion, in Washington, DC. Indoors, there are 100 works by Saint-Gaudens, as well as contemporary sculpture by others
David Hayes Sculpture Fields, Coventry, CT
The abstract steel sculptures of 75-year-old Connecticut artist David Hayes recall the work of David Smith, who taught Hayes how to weld in the 1950s, and Alexander Calder. Discover 200 of his works, spanning three decades, displayed in trees, orchards, and 15-acre pastures, and circling a pond. Visits by appointment only. Call 860.742.9687.
The Dinosaur Place, Montville, CT
Recognizable by the concrete-and-steel tyrannosaurus rex that stands 14-feet tall near the roadside, the Dinosaur Place is geared to visitors ages two to 14, but who can resist a 40-foot tall and 75-foot long brachiosaurus, a ceratosaurus threatening a stegosaurus, and a group of velociraptors stalking a protoceratops? Don’t forget the “active” volcano.
The Andres Institute of Art, Brookline, NH
Each year since 1999, the Andres Institute has invited sculptors from across the globe to bunk with local families while they make original works to add to the institute’s collection. Funded by engineer Paul Andres and shepherded by sculptor John Weidman, 45 works have found a home in the rocky woods and fields of this former ski area. Artists include David Phillips, Nora Valdez, Yin Peet, Viktor Lois, and Vaclav Fiala.
“WaterFire,” Providence, RI
From sunset to midnight on many Saturdays throughout the summer, Barnaby Evans and his gang set 100 bonfires ablaze in the three rivers that wind through downtown Providence. (Check the Web site for exact schedule.) Is it sculpture? Is it performance? Who cares? It’s fire!
Sculpture Garden at Cellardoor Winery, Lincolnville, ME (near Camden)
One of the delights of traveling through New England is finding roadside curiosities. John Clapp’s whimsical flat-steel sculptures — a nude acrobat, sea critters, a girl in repose accompanied by cormorants — evoke that feeling. The sculptures decorate the 68-acre vineyard and winery Clapp runs with his wife, Stephanie. Did I mention that they offer free wine tasting daily from 10 am to 5 pm through Columbus Day?
On the Web
Arts on the Point: //www.artsonthepoint.com
DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Garden: //www.decordova.org
Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden: //www.catinthehat.org/memorial.htm
Forest Hills Cemetary: //www.foresthillstrust.org/
Augustus Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site: //www.sgnhs.org/
David Hayes Sculpture Fields: //www.davidhayes.com/fields.htm
The Dinosaur Place: //www.thedinosaurplace.com
The Andres Institute of Art: //www.andresinstitute.org
Sculpture Garden at Cellardoor Winery: //www.mainesculpture.com/