Judith Ann Moriarty
One Piece at a Time

The Lynden Garden’s embellished acres

By - Nov 23rd, 2010 04:00 am
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What nature hath wrought. All photos by Tom Kovacich

It’s a blustery November Sunday as artist Tom Kovacich and I arrive at the Lynden Sculpture Garden’s main house, a stately manor with quite a view, considering that you’re viewing forty acres embellished with diverse sculptures.

Only a few short months ago, when the gardens re-opened to the public, these rolling hills were bathed in sunlight and summer humidity. On the day of our visit, the sun is still shining, but the breeze is a stern reminder of the winter months that lay ahead.

Inside the manse, in a show aptly titled Inside/Outside, is the work of Eddee Daniel & Philip Krejcarek, paired in a kind of orange and blue dance.

However, on this day we’ve come to walk the paths wending round about the permanent sculptures. In the distance a larch gleams golden in the slant of the afternoon light; a pair of geese guard the edge of a small pond smooshed with Monet-like lily pads.

Were it not for the wintry weather, everything looks much the same as it did on a late 70s summer day when I settled onto the manicured lawn to sip wine and eat cuke sandwiches, one of hundreds who attended the annual garden party, back when this lush section of land was known as the Bradley Sculpture Gardens.

Over there…are those the same three bovines I saw decades ago? On the rise overlooking the lake? Come closer. The beige and white one is badly cracked, but Samuel Buri’s Des Vaches have weathered many a Wisconsin winter. Several other works are missing and undergoing conservation (or so it is noted on a large printout about the Garden’s fifty one pieces).

My sidekick is a pure modernist and co-owner of Safi Studio in the Marshall Building. We agree that less is more. Less is more. Less is more.

Samuel Buri. “Des Vaches: Mo, Ni, Que.” 1971-1976. Polyester and impregnated fiberglass with paint.

Therefore, we stroll by the cows with our noses in the air.

But what are these slender imaginings rising skyward? The map says they are fashioned of hand-carved buckthorn wood, copper and living buckthorn trees — the work of Kevin Giese. Sadly, they are temporary. I say keep them in place forever.

Immigrant 2010 is brilliant, for in this era of immigration strife, the idea of grafting them onto us, or us onto them, is perfect. I’m tempted to say Giese is the best of all the rest. Before moving to Bay View, Cedar Gallery housed a few of his pieces.

There’s much to admire here where the land was carved to meet the requirements of the owners. Among the big and bold are two painted steel pieces by Mark di Suvero, the über-controversial artist who crafted the big orange I-beam thing anchoring the east end of Wisconsin Avenue, the thing kids love to climb on. But The Calling is more than orange paint and I-beams.

Linda Howard. “Round About,” aluminum. 1976.

Over yonder grazes Hara, 1989, a bronze horse by Deborah Butterfield, whose work I first admired at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Ernest C. Shaw is represented by four steel sculptures, and you can see more of his concepts in a snug park (the Green Ash Park), adjacent to the north side of the Haggerty Museum.

Before exiting the Lynden, we pause by the lake to enjoy Floating Sculpture #3, a 1972 painted polyester work by Marta Pan.

Please Keep To The Mowed Areas. No Pets Allowed (except guide and/or service dogs). No climbing on the sculptures, picking wildflowers, etc., etc., etc. Winter hours are in effect, so best check before you drive to 2145 W. Brown Deer Road.

With a heap of snow upon the acres, it will be a brand new experience.

0 thoughts on “One Piece at a Time: The Lynden Garden’s embellished acres”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Love you, Judith Ann. Lovely piece. — Tom

  2. Anonymous says:


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