DeCordova installs outdoor sculptures by Nancy Winship Milliken, Cat Mazza, and Andy Graydon

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DeCordova installs outdoor sculptures by Nancy Winship Milliken, Cat Mazza, and Andy Graydon
Nancy Winship Milliken, Pasture Song, 2018, wood, nylon netting, horsehair (re-claimed cello bow strings), 15 x 17 x 1.5 feet, Courtesy of the artist.

LINCOLN, MASS.- DeCordova announced three new outdoor works by artists Nancy Winship Milliken, Cat Mazza, and Andy Graydon in the Sculpture Park. All sculptures have been created specifically for deCordova and have never been on view to the public. The works are being installed in July and August 2018 and will remain on view for the coming year.

Milliken’s Pasture Song is made of reclaimed cello bow strings, which create melodic sounds when activated by the wind. Inspired by nineteenth-century “cure cottages,” Mazza’s Taking the Cure is an open architectural structure that promotes the healing powers of nature. For City Lights Orchestra, Graydon has created a group of sculptural instruments constructed from discarded city street lamp covers, intended for collaborative performance.

“We’re thrilled to display three new commissions by talented New England-based artists,” says Curator Sarah Montross. “These artworks are interactive and engage the senses, inviting onlookers to listen, perform, or inhabit. They add an entirely new way for our visitors to appreciate and learn within the Park this summer and beyond.”

Earlier this summer, deCordova installed outdoor sculptures by Saul Melman, Nari Ward, and Josephine Halvorson. On July 5, deCordova installed one of acclaimed contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms outdoors, marking the first time one of these enchanting artworks has been shown in the Boston area. The sculpture, Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016), is being on view through October 28.

Nancy Winship Milliken, Pasture Song
July 13, 2018–July 1, 2019

Milliken’s Pasture Song features reclaimed cello bow strings woven into a net and suspended from a wooden frame. Wind activates the fibers, creating melodic sounds that recall string instruments and natural tunes from the field, such as the subtle vibrations of tall grasses and crickets. Using horse hair, once used to flick flies on a hot summer day, then fashioned into a bow to make music, Milliken returns this material to the harmony of nature.

Milliken defines her art practice as “contemporary pastoralism,” taking inspiration from our age-old relationship with nature to consider contemporary ecological questions. Her environmental and site-specific sculptures are often performative, activated by ephemeral forces such as the wind, rain, and sun. Her use of both natural and industrial materials stem from her interest in rural art, agriculture, and sustainable living.

PLATFORM 22: Cat Mazza, Taking the Cure
July 20, 2018–July 1, 2019

PLATFORM 22: Taking the Cure is an original commission by Cat Mazza, an artist whose practice has thus far focused on textiles, technology, and gender politics. Taking the Cure represents a new direction for Mazza, her first large-scale outdoor sculpture that incorporates architecture. Exploring issues of convalescence and self-care, Mazza blends aesthetic traditions inspired by New England’s industrial-era “cure cottages” intended to treat female textile workers suffering from tuberculosis in order to create a treatment space for today’s contemporary social ills.

In the nineteenth century, makeshift “cure cottages” were used throughout New England and upstate New York to treat female textile workers afflicted by tuberculosis. These historic shelters incorporated porches and other outdoor architectural elements into their design, allowing patients to interact with the environment and promoting the healing powers of nature.

To create Taking the Cure, Mazza borrowed elements of these original “cure cottages,” as well as textile patterns made by female workers in Massachusetts mills. Mazza references these details through her architectural sculpture, with open, permeable walls made of intricate wooden latticework that allows the free flow of air and of visitors, who are encouraged to circulate and also to linger, soaking up the health benefits of fresh air and nature. DeCordova’s idyllic grounds provide the perfect setting for Taking the Cure. Surrounded by trees in the Sculpture Park, viewers are able to contemplate recuperation and engage with the history of curing examined by Mazza’s work and research.

PLATFORM 23: Andy Graydon, City Lights Orchestra
August 24, 2018–August 23, 2019

Working in a wide variety of media, Andy Graydon explores themes of community, history, and language. For his PLATFORM project at deCordova, Graydon has created a series of instruments for collective performance made from discarded city street lamp covers. Rather than casting light, the street lamps in City Lights Orchestra are intended to resonate with sound. Sourcing the hollow plastic forms from local towns, Graydon has fashioned them into sculptures modeled after the Indonesian gamelan, a musical device characterized as “one instrument played by many people.” The installation also incorporates references to Japanese Taiko drums, the sculptural instruments of American composer Harry Partch, and the Futurists’ Intonarumori.

Installed in an S-shaped formation in the Sculpture Park, City Lights Orchestra is intended to take on a variety of roles depending on who is approaching it. For the passive viewer it is a sculptural assemblage, while for the more active viewer it becomes an interactive artwork intended for collaborative play. While on view, the installation will also play host to a series of public performances led by various performers, including experimental percussionists and sound artists. The many possibilities for engaging with City Lights Orchestra reveal the work’s true form as a sculpture-in-the-making, an ongoing composition performed in both structure and sound.

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