Modernist Delight: The Decordova Museum

Posted by Rochelle
September 11, 2016 | Art, Avant Garde, Gardens To Visit, New England
Nestled in Lincoln, MA, one of Boston’s quietest most rural-feeling (though not actually rural) suburbs, the Decordova museum and sculpture park brings contemporary outdoor art to New England. Combining a visit with an exploration of the large collection of modern homes found in the surrounding town provides a full day of modernist inspiration.  Gropius house, the personal home of Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus movement and The Henry B. Hoover House are both nearby and anchor a collection of over 70 modernist homes built in this woodsy neighborhood between the late 1930s and the 1960s.

The Decordova museum has its own interesting architectural history.  It’s main building is a Spanish inspired castle that sits atop a hill overlooking a nearby pond. It was originally built by Julian de Cordova (1851-1945) who travelled the world collecting art and any thing that struck his fancy.  This home has since converted into an art museum surrounded by over thirty acres of sculpture park.  All the collections are constantly rotating, making it a great choice for regular visits.  

Two Big Black Hearts by Jim Dine

ence-penceence pence by ursula von Rydingsvard

Our visit in late August coincided with a significant drought in New England and subsequently the grass was not its usual lush green.  I suspect in a wetter year, a greener softer frame would highlight all the pieces even more. Nonetheless, my thirteen year or and ten-year old found plenty to enjoy and explore.
At first glance and from a distance, I thought that Ursula von Rydingsvard’s ence pence was an outcropping of puddingstone.  It is, however, a bit outside the range of the Roxbury Conglomerate.  On close inspection, you realize this is a touchable wood carving.

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Are You Here? by Johnathan Getelson

Johnathan Getelson’s Are You Here? billboard is near the entry to the park.  Its play on the more common phrase ‘You Are Here’ makes everyone think they are dyslexic for a moment before they realize the point is obviously to remind us to pay attention to our immediate surroundings.

decordova museum by rochelle greayer www.pithandvigor.comImages clockwise from top left: Rain Gates by Ron Rudnicki, Eternal Presence by John Wilson, Beacon by Stephanie Cardon, Otter by Rona Pondick, and Requiem for the 20th Century by Nam June Paik 

The collection is eclectic and interesting.  It ranges from naturalistic sculptures like Rain Gates to classical pieces like Eternal Presence.  We loved Beacon for its colorful simplicity interesting shadows. We pondered the point of Requiem for the 20th Century as it had a certain iconic quality that we were all drawn to.  And we all agreed that Otter, by Rona Pondick, was just about the creepiest garden creature we’d ever hope to never see in living form.

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decordova museum

Our favorite sculpture is the centerpiece of the whole site. Dewitt Godfrey’s huge corten steel rings seem to tumble down the hill in a sculpture titled Lincoln. Without it, the Decordova museum would not be the same I can only assume the piece was made for the site as it perfectly fits the landscape.

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Above: Möbius by Robert Perless

Right: Humming by Jaume Plensa

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Inside the castle there are a few traditional art galleries.  Jeff Perrot’s oil painting, RW1 (Crux) mesmerized us as.  One continuous path swirls the canvas while changing color and we had to trace it to ensure that in fact, the artist kept to his brief.

 

The current exhibition, titled Overgrowth, explores how artists represent prolific growth, expansion, and transformation in the natural world.  As a gallery theme, it marries well with the theme of the whole museum. I assume future exhibitions will also tie in with topics of nature, the environment and contemporary art and culture.

I find so much inspiration in art galleries; not only the paintings but sometimes even in the postcards in the gift shop.  They all seem to find their way into my own ideas of magazine  and art making.

Details:

Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park 

51 Sandy Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773

images: rochelle greayer

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I live in the area and just adore the Decordova – My absolute favorite place to be. Plus they have a fantastic gift shop -the perfect place for wedding presents!

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