If you build it, they will come. And come they have, sculptures from an international array of artists to the Parrish Museum in Water Mill since this past summer’s opening of Field of Dreams, the museum’s inaugural sculpture exhibition created to extend the galleries outdoors and activate the museum’s meadows with work that engages and responds to the Parrish’s architecture and landscape. The exhibition series is part of the museum’s new Art in the Meadow initiative that enlivens the grounds with performances, projections and works of art.
Field of Dreams presents work by 10 international, multi-generational artists working in a variety of genres, featuring a new installation created for the museum by interdisciplinary artist Theaster Gates (American, born 1973), a suite of four new sculptures by Jaume Plensa (Spanish, born 1955); and new works by Parrish collection artist Jim Dine (American, born 1935). Other collection artists include Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–97), Joel Perlman (American, born 1943), and Joel Shapiro (American, born 1941); as well as sculpture by Max Ernst (French and American, born Germany, 1891–1976); and Bernar Venet (French, born 1941). Two additional monumental works by Isa Genzken(German, born 1948) and Giuseppe Penone (Italian, born 1947) will be installed in the fall.
The outdoor exhibition is presented throughout the museum’s 14-acre grounds originally designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron and landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand. For Field of Dreams, landscape architect Mary Margaret Jones, President of HargreavesJones, advised on the creation of three distinct Meadow spaces: the Entry Meadow on the north side of the building leading to the museum’s entrance; the Terrace Meadow on the west side; and the Great Meadow, a six-acre expanse to the south of the museum facing Montauk Highway.
The Great Meadow, which has been home to Roy Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushstrokes, on long-term loan from Glenn Fuhrman since 2014, is the site for the majority of works in the exhibition. Untitled, a bronze sculpture by Joel Shapiro, anchors a new network of pathways through the Great Meadow. Jaume Plensa explores the connection between humanity and nature in his work. In Carlota (oak), Julia (oak), Laura Asia (oak), and Wilsis (oak), 2019—four bronze portraits originally carved from oak—Plensa captures a moment of quiet reflection, evoking silence and stillness in a bustling world.
Theaster Gates’s Monument in Waiting, 2020, responds to the current national reckoning with monuments and historical figures upheld across public spaces and raises questions of why some narratives are celebrated over others—particularly as they relate to the preservation of Black cultural and social histories. Comprising repurposed stone plinths placed upon a large granite plaza, devoid of a figure, Monument in Waiting is a contemporary ruin that both deconstructs and preserves the concept of monument. Jim Dine’s The Wheatfield (Agincourt),1989–2019, expands the scope of the artist’s work into a monumental assemblage comprising an extensive tractor axle fitted with the objects and icons that have populated his life’s work. For this new iteration at the Parrish, Dine extended the framework of the axle and added new found objects. Positioned on the southern edge of the Great Meadow is the 13-foot COR-TEN steel Arcs in Disorder: 220.5° Arc x 15″, 2006, by Bernar Venet, known for geometric sculptures that are at once mathematically precise yet spontaneous.
Max Ernst’s Grand Grenouille, 1967, a whimsical bronze frog, sits next to the ramp to the Event Lawn. Anchoring the corner of the Terrace, Ernst strikes a more thoughtful note with Big Brother: Teaching Staff for a School of Murderers, 1967. The three bronze figures are a nod to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, an anti-monument to false authority and corrupt political order.
The Entrance Meadow presents the second work in the exhibition by Jim Dine. The Hooligan, created in 2019 and on view for the first time, draws inspiration from the Venus de Milo—a characteristic trademark of the artist’s practice since the late 1970s. Joel Perlman is represented with Eastgate, 1989, part of his Portal series in which a solid form swings through the steel frame, inviting the viewer to examine what lies beyond.
Two sculptures will be added to the exhibition in early fall. Isa Genzken’s Two Orchids, 2017, which will tower 34 feet above the center of the Great Meadow, is a reminder of how a once exotic flower has become a mundane object Giuseppe Penone’s Ideas of Stone, 2008, a 30-foot cast bronze tree situated among its living counterparts, examines the relationship between humans and nature.
Field of Dreams outdoor sculpture exhibition is open and free to the public daily, from 11 am to 5 pm. Museum galleries are open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday for timed visits through pre-registration and online ticketing on the Parrish website. Visitors are asked to observe social distancing practices, required to wear masks on museum property, and encouraged to review the COVID guidelines. Click here to visit parrishart.org.