Interior view. Photo: Seong Kwon, courtesy of Public Art Fund
Why did you decide to make the enclosing structure out of wood? Why not use something clear? Or concrete which is more a medium of the city than wood? We wanted this small meadow to be detached from the urban environment allowing only glimpses into the natural world within. These narrow apertures, where the bright blue photographic mural can be clearly seen, draw visitors toward the structure and to a closer, more intimate view of the plantings inside.
Plywood is also an off-the-shelf, inexpensive and common urban material that can be put up and taken down quickly. Our artwork was designed to be a temporary installation that could be recycled at the end of the summer. The choice of wood also reflects the scale of the artwork: it is not as large as a building that would be made from steel and concrete; rather is it more on the scale of a small room where wooden doors or furniture would be found.
What kinds of plants will grow in the meadow? How did you choose them? We selected a group of native plants and grasses to reflect the kind of vegetation that might have been found on the site centuries ago before the area was developed. Because they are native to the regions climate and conditions, they are hardy and drought-resistant. The wildflowers will bloom at different times throughout the summer in reds, oranges, yellows, blues and purples.
Is there a reason why the project is four months long? Does that have anything to do with the life cycle of a meadow, or the specific plants you’ve chosen? This artwork is presented by the Public Art Fund through its In the Public Realm program, which is an opportunity for artists living or working in New York State to create a temporary work in a public space. Because it is a living sculpture, we naturally chose to install at the beginning of the growing season and to dismantle the installation in early October, revealing and magnifying its tremendous transformation in a minimal amount of time.
You mentioned recycling the plywood. What will become of the meadow when the installation is finished? Will it be destroyed, or will it be replanted permanently perhaps? All the materials from the sculpture will be donated to New York City community gardens. The wood will be used to build planter boxes, the soil will go into gardens, and remaining organic material composted and used as nutrients for the soil in these gardens.