Arts Adventure #1, Chapter 6: Sculpture Purgatory

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

As I mentioned in the last post, I had spent a few hours at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, and felt like I had pretty much covered everything there, so I headed back to the car to move on to the next part of my Arts Adventure. I had parked my car at the end of a long building, which housed both the Visitor Center and the East Gallery. But as I walked back to the car, I noticed that the west end of the building had somewhat tinted windows with a non-lighted interior, and as I put my face closer to the glass, could see that it was a huge storage space for sculptures by the sculpture garden's founder, J. Seward Johnson (who made the 3-D sculptural interpretations of famous Impressionist paintings from art history, seen in Chapter 2 of this Arts Adventure).

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Some of the sculptures in this storage area appeared intact and simply set aside for storage, while others seemed in disarray, in various states of condition, and seeing them in the dark through the reflection-covered windows, it seemed like a sculpture purgatory.

a storage space at Grounds for Sculpture that looked like a sculpture purgatory

Perhaps my curiosity was peaked by the fact that long ago, in another career, I worked at a storage facility for art, and we had everything either bubble wrapped, crated, or stored in flat files - keeping order was part of the job, which made this huge room of disarray that much more fascinating. And certainly what made it even more surreal is the fact that all of the sculpture was human-based, so it was like a morgue for cast bronze humans frozen in their own unique positions. Check out the hand-in-a-box, below left; and the creepy grin on the guy below right!

a storage space at Grounds for Sculpture that had broken sculpture parts

a strange looking man sculpture in a storage space at Grounds for Sculpture

As you can see from the pictures below, some of the sculptures are wrapped in white blankets, which then makes them look like ghosts! It was fun to look in through the windows at this collection of sculptures-in-storage, but think how interesting it would be if one were allowed to walk around inside!

a storage space with a sculpture draped in a white sheet like a ghost

sculptures with sheets that look like ghosts in storage

Below left, we can barely see this couple through all of the reflections on the glass, but they seem to be in a discussion about their time here, wondering when they might get out ...?

I'll conclude with this last guy, below right, seen laid out on the floor, with a scream-like expression on his face which seems like he's crying out: "why have I been relegated to this fate?" May he find a 2nd life as an installed sculpture someplace else!

a storage space filled with sculptures of all kinds

a sculpture in storage who appears to be screaming about his fate

Looking at my watch, it's mid afternoon, which gives me ample time for the next part of this Arts Adventure, and that is to drive from the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton into Trenton, the capital of NJ and a city which I've never before visited. Despite my limited Google-searching for art in Trenton, I haven't got a clue as to where to go looking for art once I get to Trenton - I'm going to just wander around and see what I come up with. It's that element of the completely unknown that gives me a tingle of excitement! Chapter 7, coming soon ...

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