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Art in the Garden: Four great ways to enjoy art outdoors in the USA

7 June 2015

The New York Botanical Garden has just opened an exhibition dedicated to Frida Kahlo, whose surreal paintings were often dense with depictions of flora and fauna from her native Mexico. Where else can you go to soak up some culture along with the sun? Louise Nicholson picks four top spots for a summer afternoon:

‘Velvet Paintings: 18th-century pastels from the Huntington’s Art Collections’, The Huntington, San Marino, California

Nine delicate, ethereal pastels by the likes of Rosalba Carriera, Francis Cotes and William Hoare. Plus two other shows: ‘Glory After the Fall: Images of Ruins in 18th- and 19th-century British Art’, and ‘Between Modernism and Tradition: British Works on Paper, 1914–1948’, and more than a dozen gardens laid over 120 acres of the former San Marino Ranch just a spin along the highway from downtown LA.

(2010), Deborah Butterfield. Collection of Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame: Humana Foundation Endownment for American Art.

Tracery (2010), Deborah Butterfield. Collection of Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame: Humana Foundation Endownment for American Art. Art © Deborah Butterfield/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo by Scott Dressel-Martin.

‘Deborah Butterfield: The Nature of Horses’ at Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colorado

Butterfield’s horse, an embodiment of power made of bronze to look like driftwood, stands on an alpine trail amid Colorado’s spruces and spring flowers in the suburbs of the Mile High city.


Steps © 2015 Jonathan Monk. Photo by Steve Weinik

Jonathan Monk: Steps and Pyramid, Paine’s Skatepark, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s elegant park-like core strewn with sculptures is thanks to its 19thcentury City Beautiful philosophy. British sculptor Monk’s temporary sculptures – which invite skaters to jump up, over and around them – are the first of 14 Open Source summer additions to the country’s oldest and largest public art collection.

‘Lynda Benglis: Water Sources’, Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York state

An hour’s drive north of New York, visitors roaming the 500-acre park to seek out pieces by all the greats from Barbara Hepworth to Mark di Suvero and Maya Lin will come across this year’s commission, Benglis’s fountains splashing away in various spots.

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