National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is the most recent addition to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. in the United States. It is located on the National Mall between the National Gallery's West Building and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Completed and opened to the public on 23 May 1999, the location provides an outdoor setting for exhibiting several pieces from the museum's contemporary sculpture collection; the collection is centered on a fountain which, from December to March, is converted to an ice-skating rink. The outdoor Pavilion Café lies adjacent to the garden. Laurie Olin and his firm, OLIN, were the landscape architects. Claes Oldenburg.
Roxy Paine is an American artist. He was educated at both the Pratt Institute in New York. Since 1990, Paine's work has been internationally exhibited and is included in major collections such as the De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, The Netherlands. C.. His dendroid sculptures can be found at various museums and foundations including the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle. Roxy Paine works in Brooklyn and Treadwell, New York. In his body of work, Paine mirrors natural processes, drawing on the tension between organic and man-made environments, between the human desire for order and nature's drive to reproduce, his detailed simulations of natural phenomena include an ambitious series of hand-wrought stainless steel trees, vitrines of mushroom and plant life in various states of decay and several large-scale machines designed to replicate creative processes. Collectively, his works demonstrate the human attempt to impose order on natural forces, depicting the struggle between the natural and the artificial, the rational and the instinctual.
Paine has said, "I'm interested in taking entities that are organic and outside of the industrial realm, feeding them into an industrial system, seeing what results from that force-feeding. The end results are a seamless containment of these opposites."Paine is represented by Kavi Gupta in Chicago and Berlin, by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York. Paine began showing his work in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1990 and 1991 at an artist run collective called Brand Name Damages and he had his first solo exhibition at the short-lived Herron Test-Site in October 1992, his early work consisted of kinetic and time-based sculptures such as Viscous Pult, 1990, which consisted of a paint brush smearing ketchup, white paint and motor oil on the gallery space's front window. His next solo exhibition was at Ronald Feldman Gallery in 1995, it included other kinetic works, but the central and most critically acclaimed work was a piece called Dinner of the Dictators, 1993–95, a vitrine enclosing the taxidermied favorite meals of infamous dictators, ranging from Genghis Khan and Adolf Hitler to Napoleon Bonaparte and Suharto.
The research alone took eight months, overall, the work took two years to produce, opening Paine to new approaches and processes in his work. From this point onwards, Paine's work separated into a few distinct but related categories; the first involves naturalistic works: minutely precise reproductions of natural objects like mushrooms, leafy plants or poppies. A second category consists of machine-based works: he has devised a number of conceptually-challenging art-making machines, like the SCUMAK, 1998, PMU, 1999–2000, the Erosion Machine, 2005. Bridging the gap between the naturalistic and mechanized works, Paine creates large-scale stainless steel trees and boulders of varying sizes. Paine's vitrines and botanical works feature replicas of plants that have been discovered as poisonous or have been used by humans for experimental hallucinogenic or drug experiences; the living plants are cast and subsequently rendered in thermoset polymers, paint and epoxy, among other materials. Crop, 1997–98, shows a field of poppies, with ripened pods exposing the evidence of raw opium being readied for harvest.
The piece embodies the shifting views of the beauty of a field of wild flowers and the grave potential of drug addiction. Amanita Muscaria Field, 2000, shows a field of psychoactive mushrooms that appear as if they are sprouting from the gallery floor; this field might present multiple readings: are these works a hallucinogenic vision on their own or do they represent the plant life that offers the possibility of arriving at that vision? Another related series of works is that of the Dead Amanita vitrines, lifelike mushrooms seem to be decaying under glass; the genus Amanita is a group of poisonous and psychoactive mushrooms that has some species that are among the deadliest if ingested by humans. Another example is the leafy plant genus Datura, which has long been used as a poison and hallucinogen. Paine's re-creation of various species of Datura take on a state of potential, presenting us with a deceptively simple plant that nonetheless contains complex molecules that can give rise to an altered state of consciousness.
Removing the artist's hand in the creative process and replacing it with a computer program is the crux of Paine's machine-based works. His first art-making machine, Paint Dipper, 1997, employed a steel armature that continuously dipped canvases into a vat of paint over the course of time, creating works that collect latex paint stalactites along the bottom edge. SCUMAK, 1998–2001, melts plastic with pigments and periodically extrudes them onto a conveyor belt, creating bulbous shaped sculptures that are each unique. PMU, from 1999–2000, involves a metal painting arm, pro