Shooting Red, Yellow and Blue

Today J and I went to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA to wander and take lots of pictures. (Click on the picture below to see a larger panoramic shot.)

Panorama

Although I had gone to the deCordova with a friend in June, 2012, J hadn’t been there since we’d visited in April, 2009. Some of the permanent works we’d seen back then are still on display, but there is always a changing array of temporary installations, so every trip to the deCordova is a mix of old and new.

Premier make-out opportunity

One of the most popular attractions today wasn’t technically an art installation, although it definitely qualifies as “temporary.” In a grassy field at the center of the sculpture park, a volunteer stood blowing enormous soap bubbles for children and passing grown-ups to chase and admire.

Big bubble

There’s nothing more fleeting than a soap bubble whose iridescence rivals any of the colors in even the most skillful painter’s palette: awe in an instant.

Big bubble

The deCordova is located in a beautiful woodsy setting, so the artworks on display are only part of the place’s appeal. In additional to the permanent and temporary installations you’ll find on the sculpture park map are attractions of a far more ephemeral nature.

Cloud installation (abstract)

This is my Day 10 contribution to NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, a commitment to post every day during the month of November: thirty days, thirty posts.

I’m still sorting through the pictures I took at the deCordova today, so I suspect you’ll be seeing them in small installments over the next week or so.

Pine Sharks

Today’s Photo Friday theme is Metal, which gives me an excuse to post this picture of Kitty Wales’ Pine Sharks, one of several images from an April visit to the DeCordova Sculpture Park which I posted to Flickr but never blogged.

Pine Sharks

Of all the ingenious, odd, and downright weird works at the DeCordova, Pine Sharks is probably my favorite. I love its fishily fluid lines; I love the juxtaposition of rusted metal, pine boughs, and blue sky; and I love the irony that a sculpture of sharks was conceived by an artist named Wales. (In checking out Kitty Wales’ website, I realize that I’d seen another of her installations, Canis Ex Machina, when it was featured in an indoor exhibition at the DeCordova Museum in 2006.) Only at a place like the DeCordova can you be surprised and delighted by the possibility of airborne fish fashioned from abandoned appliances.

Pine Sharks

It is exactly this element of surprise that I crave in any individual art work or exhibition. When I go to a sculpture park or museum, I’m looking to have my worldview widened. Even if I don’t “understand” an especially bizarre piece of art–and the DeCordova always features some head-scratching doozies–what I love about a good museum is the way you walk away from it feeling like you’ve seen the world, at least for a while, through someone else’s eyes. I would have never dreamed of seeing sharks swimming overhead among pine trees, backlit by sky; I would have never dreamed of seeing rusted metal transformed into fish. Having visited Wales’ vision of a pine forest patrolled by piscine predators, though, it now seems perfectly right and natural to imagine metallic sharks circling the sky.

Click here for the complete photo-set from my April visit to the DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park, including several images of the mysterious J in action.