I pleasantly discovered Sol Lewitt’s Lines in Four Directions in Flowers while walking on the Schuylkill River trail about a week and a half ago. I initially saw the news about the artwork on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website, but I forgot all about it until I went out for a walk. I was excited to see the artwork, because it’s not every day where you encounter a prominent artist working with landscape design. The artwork is actually a garden where flowers are planted to create line and color. According to the PMA’s press release, the work was commissioned over 30 years ago, but it was not installed until May, 2012. The original images of the work were stunning and vibrant. An example of can be seen here:
The view in person, however, left me a bit unsatisfied. When I turned the corner of the trail, past the Water Works, I stopped to take a break. I stood at the foot of the garden, debating whether or not I should continue walking. Suddenly I recalled the news article I read weeks before. “Sol Lewitt! Flowers!” But there were no colors to truly grab my eye. The beautifully vibrant flowers that I was expecting were much smaller and more subtle; I saw mostly green shrubbery. The aerial photograph truly captures the artwork at its best; the patterns and colors that are evident from a birds-eye view are not easily observed when you are standing in front of it. If I had not previously seen the images published on the museum’s website, I wouldn’t have necessarily noticed the placement of the flowers to be intentional or artistic.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time (or energy! I was starting to get tired from my hour-long walk!) to try to view the flowers from other angles. I didn’t have a chance to walk around. Good thing the artwork will be on view outside of the PMA for two years, so I will have other chances. Next spring, I will definitely come back and try to catch the flowers as they bloom!
I also learned that there are two other works by Sol Lewitt nearby at the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden that I have not seen yet. I will have to keep my eye out for Pyramid and Steps, both installed in 2010! I believe they are placed somewhere near the PMA’s parking lot entrance, on the west side of the iconic building. Visitors who enter the amazing PMA will also find Sol Lewitt’s On a Blue Ceiling, Eight Geometric Figures: Circle, Trapezoid, Parallelogram, Rectangle, Square, Triangle, Right Triangle, X (Wall Drawing No. 351). This awesome ceiling painting can be found in the Modern and Contemporary wing and is one of my favorite works in that wing!
Have you been on the PMA lately? What did you think about Sol Lewitt’s works at the PMA?
For more information about Sol Lewitt and Lines in Four Directions in Flowers, please read:
Philadelphia Museum of Art – Press Release