NOMA’s Garden Expansion Includes Sustainable Scenery, Stella’s Star
Stellllllaaaaa! Artist Frank Stella’s giant 14-foot tall and wide milled aluminum “Alu Truss Star” is being installed today at the six-acre expansion of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), and will most likely command this warm New Orleans welcome when viewed at the public opening on Wednesday, May 15.
Stella’s Star will join 25 additional new large-scale sculptures by artists working primarily in the 21st century along with a new outdoor amphitheater and stage, a sculpture pavilion, an outdoor learning environment and the first canal link bridge of its kind in the nation.
“It has been a collector’s dream, putting together the sculptures that will populate the sculpture garden expansion,” said Walda Besthoff, patron of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden that currently houses 64 sculptures by modern and contemporary artists. “Many outdoor collections grow over time, and do not always have the forcefulness or unity of a carefully designed entity within a specifically designed landscape. Sydney and I have had the rare privilege of formulating a plan in collaboration with the New Orleans Museum of Art.”
The garden expansion, that’s entirely funded by private donors, will be linked to the existing five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden by a 280-foot long canal link bridge along the lagoon’s waterline that will create a sensory experience akin to walking on water.
“While the Sculpture Garden expansion builds on the success of the existing garden, we have worked with our design partners to incorporate architectural features that the original garden does not have,” said Besthoff. “The principals developing this project have worked hard and well together to achieve an imaginative and exhilarating new space.”
Landscape design partner Reed Hilderbrand is turning the new garden’s expanse of water features into art itself with the added environmental benefit of capturing, cleaning and aerating it to be used as a healthy and sustainable resource.
NOMA reps said reshaping and stabilizing the existing lagoon’s shoreline, and adding cypress islands, increases capacity, improves water quality and reduces loads on the municipal drainage system. They also said an integrated water management strategy, for the more than three million gallons of water, diverts storm water pipes to capture sediment before reaching the lagoon and introduces emergent vegetation to mitigate pollutants performing vital functions for the larger park ecosystem.
“The Besthoff Sculpture Garden expansion celebrates NOMA’s primary mission of sharing significant art and artists with the broadest possible public,” said Susan Taylor, NOMA’s Montine McDaniel Freeman Director. “It also incorporates contemporary, innovative approaches for a healthy and sustainable environment into a compelling experience of art.”
For those who want to get out of the sun, a 5,000-square foot, 18-foot tall indoor sculpture pavilion will showcase sculptures and other artworks in NOMA’s collection. Lee Ledbetter & Associates’ landmark creation features an elliptically shaped gallery, enhanced by continuous skylights around the perimeter, that encourages art lovers to commune with nature while walking all around the installations.
The new amphitheater will host musical, theatrical and cultural programming, film screenings and a place for guests to sit and view the environs. At the north edge of the new garden, a new outdoor learning environment will accommodate classes and community workshops.
NOMA reps said hundreds of indigenous trees, palmettos and shrubs have been planted to compliment the exiting preserved-heritage live oaks.
“The diverse character of the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden Expansion has afforded multiple opportunities to select, commission and locate sculptures that engage in a dialogue with the unique conditions of the site,” said NOMA’s Taylor. “The new garden joins the historical character of the setting and contemporary values for a healthy and sustainable ecology into a compelling experience of art that is specific to NOMA’s primary mission—to share significant art and artists with the broadest possible public.”
The new expansion broke ground in December 2017, and encompasses an area of land adjacent to NOMA across Franklin D. Roosevelt Mall, bordered by Gulf Drive, Berky’s Circle, E. Alferez Drive and Collins Diboll Circle.
NOMA reps said, thanks to construction partner Palmisano, the exterior finish on the sculpture pavilion, the canal link bridge, all additional pedestrian bridges and all major architectural elements of the garden are now complete. But, nature is still the main attraction at the garden, continuing NOMA’s mission to provide serene water vistas, lush green grounds, open lawns, sheltering tree canopies and walking paths as enchanted exhibition spaces to celebrate contemporary art and serve as a incubator for creative experiences in an environmentally sustainable way.
“This significant undertaking reinforces NOMA’s integral role in serving the diverse communities of New Orleans,” said NOMA’s Taylor. “Like the beloved current sculpture garden, the expanded sculpture garden and new gallery will be free and open to the public, seven days a week.”
Works to be featured in NOMA’s Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expansion include:
• Larry Bell, Pacific Red VI
• Tony Cragg, Runner, 2017
• Tony Cragg, Sinbad, 2000
• Johan Creten, Massu II
• Teresita Fernández, a commissioned 60-foot-long mosaic wall
• Katharina Fritsch, Schädel/ Skull, 2018
• Frank Gehry, Bear With Us, 2014
• Jeppe Hein, Mirror Labyrinth, 2018
• Georg Herold, Liver of Love, 2013
• Thomas Houseago, Striding Figure (Rome I), 2013
• Shirazeh Houshiary, Exuviae, 2016-2017
• Baltasar Lobo, Grande Jeune Fille a Genoux, 1993
• Robert Longo, Speed of Grace, from "Cities of the Men," 1982-1983
• Gerold Miller, Verstärker 28, 2017
• Beverly Pepper, Split Ritual II, 1996
• Pedro Reyes, Epicurus,
• George Rickey, Four Open Rectangles, 1978
• Ugo Rondinone – a TBA work will installed in late 2019
• Ursula Van Rydingsvard, Dumna, 2015
• Sean Scully, Colored Stacked Frames, 2017
• Yinka Shonibare, Wind Sculpture V, 2013
• Frank Stella, Alu Truss Star, 2016
• Hank Willis Thomas, History of the Conquest, 2017
• Bernar Venet, 11 Acute Unequal Angles, 2016
• Fred Wilson, The Mete of the Muse, 2006
• Elyn Zimmerman, a commissioned glass bridge, 2018
Check out today’s Daily Biz Minute to view some of the new sculptures to be installed in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expansion.