Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nice crack: East coast edition.

Not long ago I paid a visit to Andy Goldsworthy’s Drawn Stone (2005) at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. And since I like to see multiple works by artists, I went in search of another Goldsworthy work in New York City.
We found it at the Museum of Jewish Heritage at the very bottom of Manhattan. The work is Garden of Stones (2003) and consists of a series of glacial boulders that have been drilled to allow for the planting of dwarf oak saplings. The result is a reminder that life will succeed even in the most difficult circumstances. The garden includes eighteen boulders, a reference to the Hebrew word for life (chai), which also has a numerical value of eighteen.
I preferred the San Francisco piece mainly because this work felt cramped—I wish the boulders had more room to breathe. But with a view that included the Statue of Liberty in the distance, this work is emotional, reminding me how great it is to live in a country that has so often welcomed the world’s outcasts. Let’s hope we haven’t forgotten that tradition.

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