Nairy Baghramian, Knee and Elbow, 2020. Marble and stainless steel, installation view. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Must-See Sculpture Park Shows

A round-up of this year’s best outdoor sculpture exhibitions.

“Melvin Edwards: Brighter Days”
City Hall Park
New York
Through November 28, 2021

Melvin Edwards, Song of the Broken Chains, 2020. Photo: Nicholas Knight, © 2021 Melvin Edwards/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY; Alexander Gray Associates, New York; and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

“Brighter Days” is the first outdoor exhibition of Melvin Edwards’s large-scale sculptures and presents five historic artworks created between 1970 and 1996, as well as a sixth sculpture commissioned for the exhibition. Each work engages in some form with the chain motif, which Edwards has long employed as a symbol of both oppression and connection.

Clark Art Institute
Williamstown, Massachusetts
Through October 17, 2021

Nairy Baghramian, Knee and Elbow, 2020. Marble and stainless steel, installation view. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

For “Ground/work,” the Clark Art Institute commissioned Kelly Akashi, Nairy Baghramian, Jennie C. Jones, Eva LeWitt, Analia Saban, and Haegue Yang to create new artworks in response to chosen sites around the Clark’s 140-acre campus. The exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute with guest curators Molly Epstein and Abigail Ross Goodman, and is the Clark’s first outdoor exhibition.

“Sarah Sze: Fallen Sky”
Storm King Art Center
New Windsor, New York

Sarah Sze, Fallen Sky, 2021. Photo: Nicholas Knight, © Sarah Sze, Courtesy Sarah Sze Studio

“Sarah Sze: Fallen Sky” inaugurates Sze’s new permanent commission (the first since Maya Lin’s Storm King Wavefield in 2008) for Storm King Art Center. The outdoor work, titled Fallen Sky, comprises a ring of 129 polished stainless steel components, the overall form of which was derived from a clay model created through a process of erosion. Indoors, an immersive installation titled Fifth Season (on view through November 8, 2021) presents a panoramic landscape incorporating photos, paint, projections, as well as natural materials including plants, stones, and more.

2021 Creative Folkestone Triennial: “The Plot”
Folkestone, Kent, U.K.
Through November 2, 2021

Atta Kwami, Atsiaƒu ƒe agbo nu (Gateways of the Sea), 2021. Photo: Thierry Bal

The fifth edition of the Creative Folkestone Triennial, the largest exhibition of newly commissioned work in the U.K., is titled “The Plot.” “The Plot” focuses on movement, circulation, and narration, and the 23 new works highlight three historic Folkestone “ways”: St Eanswythe’s Way (an engineered watercourse names after Folkestone’s patron saint); William Harvey’s Way (physicist William Harvey, born in the town in 1578, discovered the properties of the circulation of blood); and the industrial road called The Milky Way. The 25 participating artists include Assemble, Bill Woodrow, HoyCheong Wong, Atta Kwami, and Bob and Roberta Smith. At the show’s conclusion, some of the works will remain on permanent view, joining over 70 other Creative Folkestone pieces from past years sited around the town and harbor.

Helsinki Biennial: “The Same Sea”
Vallisaari Island, Helsinki
Through September 26, 2021

Kyungwoo Chun, Islands of Island, 2021. Photo: © Maija Toivanen, HAM Helsinki Biennial 2021

The first Helsinki Biennial (presented by the Helsinki Art Museum) takes place on Vallisaari Island, a former fort located near Helsinki city’s harbor and accessible by ferry, and presents 41 artists or groups of artists from Finland and around the world, including Jaakko Niemelä, Tadashi Kawamata, Janet Echelman, BIOS, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Katharina Grosse, and Wanuri Kahiu. Each project responds to the theme “The Same Sea,” in part intended as a metaphor for the ecological crisis and the interconnectedness and mutual dependence it reveals.

“Why We Make Things”
Cold Hollow Sculpture Park
Enosburg Falls, Vermont

Cold Hollow Sculpture Park

Cold Hollow Sculpture Park’s 2021 season is called “Why We Make Things.” Through five events over the course of the season, the program questions the impetus behind making; subsequent programs will explore “How We Make Things” and “Amazing Makers,” in 2022 and 2023 respectively. A 200-acre former dairy farm in the foothills of the Cold Hollow Mountains, the sculpture park was opened in 2014 by David and Sarah Stromeyer and features five decades of David Stromeyer’s work.

“Ellsworth Kelly in the Rijksmuseum Gardens”
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Through October 24, 2021

Ellsworth Kelly, White Ring, 1963. Collection Ellsworth Kelly Studio

This exhibition of works by the late abstract artist presents nine sculptures sited in the Rijksmuseum Gardens. Previous exhibitions in the gardens have been devoted to the work of Henry Moore (2013), Alexander Calder (2014), Joan Miró (2015), Giuseppe Penone (2016), Jean Dubuffet (2017), Eduardo Chillida (2018), and Louise Bourgeois (2019).

IJssel Biennale
Various sites
The Netherlands
Through September 19, 2021

Elmo Vermijs, The way of Soil, 2021. Photo: Jeroen Ilbrink

In the IJssel valley, between the towns of Doesburg and Zwolle, 27 artists created new works responding to the relationship between people and landscape, particularly the effects of time on climate breakdown. (In a literalization of the theme, high water resulting from extreme rainfall events in Switzerland and Germany caused a temporary evacuation of some of the works.) Artists include: Martha Atienza, Elmo Vermijs, Leonard Passchier, Esther Kokmeijer, Dora Kotsi-Felicic, and Peter Vink.

The Art Preserve of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

The Art Preserve of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI. Photo: Durston Saylor, Courtesy John Michael Kohler Arts Center

The brand-new Art Preserve at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, which opened in June 2021, is the world’s first museum to focus entirely on art environments, described by the center as a site-specific transformation of a space, often embodying aspects of the artist’s culture, history, and sense of place. Wisconsin is home to an abundance of these sites, both public and private, which commonly transform homes and yards. In the new building designed by Denver-based firm Tres Birds, over 35 of these tableaux are on view in bespoke display areas; curated visible storage also showcases individual objects and demonstrates the Center’s ongoing conservation, research, and presentation efforts.

“Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church and our Contemporary Moment”
Olana State Historic Site and Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Catskill and Hudson, New York
Through October 31, 2021

Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood, The Pollinator Pavilion, 2021. Thomas Cole National Historic Site. Photo: © Peter Aaron/OTTO

Presented jointly at the Thomas Cole Site in Catskill and Frederic Church’s Olana in Hudson, “Cross Pollination: Heade, Cole, Church and our Contemporary Moment” is a collaborative exhibition inspired by the work of painter Martin Johnson Heade and featuring works by contemporary artists including Nick Cave, Mark Dion, Jeffrey Gibson, Paula Hayes, Patrick Jacobs, Maya Lin, Dana Sherwood, Jean Shin, Rachel Sussman, and Vik Muniz. The show features 16 paintings by Heade (1819–1904) from his “Gems of Brazil” series (1863–64), which he created on the basis of an 1863 expedition to Brazil to study hummingbirds and their habitats, as well as paintings and natural specimen collections by Cole and Church, plus works by Emily Cole and Isabel Charlotte Church (their daughters). “Cross Pollination” creates a call-and-response between these 19th- and 21st-century American artists, all of whom engage in questions surrounding biodiversity and environmental sustainability.