New Yorkers and visitors to the Big Apple can now enjoy Manolo Valdes’ monumental sculptures at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, surrounded by the lush greenery of the garden’s prodigal grounds.
The Botanical Garden was created in 1891 by architects from the firm Lord & Burnham, recognized for their contributions to landscape architecture in the United States. But behind any important project of this magnitude, there is always a patron, and in this case it was the tobacco magnate Pierre Lorillard.
MANOLO VALDES. Ivy.
The garden is located in part of what once was the Lorillard estate. Lorillard and other benefactors raised the funds for its construction after a petition by Columbia University botanist Nathaniel Lord, who would later become its first Director.
In 1967 the New York Botanical Garden was declared a National Historical Landmark. It sits on 250 acres, 40 of which are dedicated to forests, and features 50 different gardens with a display of oaks, American beeches, cherry and birch. It holds a total of 30,000 trees; some of them are more than 200 years old. The site also houses the Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory, a state-of-the-arts facility with an advanced Genomic Program.
MANOLO VALDES. Quiomar.
Since its inception, scientists have conducted nearly 2,000 missions worldwide to collect wild plants form their endemic environment. Lately they have been working in the creation of cutting edge DNA reserve for rare, endangered and already extinct species, which are kept frozen in the laboratories. In the worst case scenario, if Earth’s flora were to disappear, and we’d manage to survive, this DNA reservoir will be a first step to recover many plant species.
Currently on display at the NYBG, an impressive collection of seven pieces by Spanish artist Manolo Valdés, which serve to elucidate the fascinating relationship between nature and art.
MANOLO VALDES. Galatea.
The Marlborough gallery sponsors the exhibition, which features artworks inspired by plants. It includes: Fiore, a steel and bronze sculpture measuring 56 feet in height, inspired by oak and maple trees; Butterflies, a 50-foot-wide aluminum sculpture; and Ivy, also created with aluminum, 50 feet high and resembling palm leaves.
Also on view, seven monumental, sculptural heads that draw inspiration from the garden’s natural landscape, as can be seen in their headdresses, which include ferns, oak, and maple leaves, windblown palms, and butterflies.
If you don’t have time to visit the exhibit before May 26, Manolo Valdés, Monumental Sculpture will come back to the Orchid Rotunda of the New York Botanical Garden Library in November of 2013. ■