Friday, July 18, 2008

Victory Garden 2008: The Ark

One of the projects I'm most proud of from my time at Headlands Center for the Arts is the Victory Garden, a site-specific commissioned artwork that was the first new permanent installation on the Headlands' campus in 17 years. The project by Amy Franceschini and Michael Swaine is a 25' long "boat" moored at the Headlands' kitchen entrance, both a sculpture and a planter in which fresh herbs are grown for use in dinners made nightly for artists in residence and visitors. The artwork, at once a functioning garden and an aesthetic object, literally nourishes the artists and their community, and so is a metaphor for the mission of the Headlands.

The project was realized with the assistance of Headlands staff sharon maidenberg, Chris Doyle and Gary Sangster, and permiculturist Arcangelo Wessels. A public program and launch party on June 26 featured a reading by Cooley Windsor, whose short story Epios: a Sculptor is a melancholic tale of the artist who fashioned the Trojan Horse. Cooley's rumination on the sometimes torturous creative process was an inspiration for Amy and Michael's work. A talk by curator Clare Haggarty contextualized the project within 20th century Conceptualism, participatory art projects and social practices.

More images of the Victory Garden can be seen here.

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