Press ReleaseBrooklyn, July 10, 2010—Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) announces the commission of its first site-specific sculpture to celebrated artist Patrick Dougherty, whose massive constructions made of woven saplings and twigs conjure up the creations of Lewis Carroll and Andy Goldsworthy for their outsized physicality and whimsical charm.
Dougherty began developing concepts for the work during a July 2009 visit to BBG, when he selected the Plant Family Collection—the physical and horticultural heart of the Garden—as the site of the future work. The final design will be revealed when construction gets under way in the first week of August 2010.
Dougherty sees himself in the tradition of artists for whom the process is as important as the end result, and his particular artistic process engages the expertise of staff throughout Brooklyn Botanic Garden. To locate a source for the saplings required for the sculpture, for example, BBG’s director of Science, Dr. Gerry Moore, called upon his field knowledge garnered during the Garden’s 20-year study of flora in the metropolitan area. He settled on Ocean Breeze Park on Staten Island, about 13 miles from Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which has an abundance of nonnative willow (Salix atrocinerea), a species typically targeted for removal. BBG Horticulture staff will oversee removal of the invasive plant material over a period of days, providing the double service of facilitating Dougherty’s project and improving the balance of native species in the park.
During the rest of August, the sculpture will be brought to glorious life under Dougherty’s direction, aided by a corps of assistants from the Garden’s staff and volunteers. Some helpers will be scaling scaffolding to manage the vertical support poles; others will be instructed in the artist’s signature weaving process, which lends Dougherty’s sculpture its structural strength and visual dynamism.
Dougherty’s career melds his technical carpentry skills with his lifelong love of the outdoors. He began creating sculpture in 1980, fashioning single pieces in his backyard. Since then, he has created nearly 200 pieces for institutions and galleries. For more information about Patrick Dougherty at BBG, visit bbg.org/dougherty. For more information about Brooklyn Botanic Garden, visit bbg.org.
Contact: Kate Blumm, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
718-623-7241 | firstname.lastname@example.org
LinksPatrick Dougherty at Brooklyn Botanic Garden