Grounds for Sculpture: The Hidden Hulu Hoopster

from the Artsology series The Arts Adventurer

As I was making what seemed like the final rounds of completely covering the full offerings at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, I saw beyond a meadow what seemed to be a storage area. I couldn’t imagine it was something they wanted the public to view, yet it was wide open, so I went in. And in the midst of marble blocks, shelves filled with rusty paint cans, and a few miscellaneous heads, I saw this isolated hulu hoopster.

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J. Seward Johnson sculpture of a girl with a hulu hoop

Perhaps she was in there to be cleaned up or restored, but at the same time, she looked good-as-new. It was interesting to see the metal platform to which she was connected, which I assume would be the underground support when a sculpture like this is installed out on the grounds.

Above her and to the left I see a grouping of three strange heads (below left). I hadn’t seen anything out on the grounds that seemed to be a match for these guys, and the way they’re hanging over (and watching over?) the hulu girl is a little surreal. Seeing the detail shot below right, it's hard to tell whether these are stand-alone pieces or if they're meant to fit on top of other bodies not in storage here.

view of a sculpture storage area at Grounds for Sculpture

three sculptural heads in storage at Grounds for Sculpture

But perhaps the strangest item in this storage area was this thing, below left: a pedestal with illegible words covered with rust-like spray paint and then a cup with water and some sort of skewered fruit or ball inside (see detail below right). Either it’s a bizarre sculpture, or a groundsperson was just screwing around in this storage area and made this odd item. Also, check out the vacuum cleaner in the back of the left picture – makes me think of a red R2-D2 unit with hoses for arms!

view of a storage area with a R2-D2-like vacuum and a pedestal at Grounds for Sculpture

an orange ball with sticks poking through it inside a cup

Well, with that brief exploration of "behind the scenes" at Grounds for Sculpture, I decided it was time to move on. Time to go back to the car and on to the next phase of this adventure: looking for art in Trenton. But on my way out, there was something unexpected that grabbed my attention, one last location of intrigue ... click here to read Chapter 6!

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