One of the works installed in The Quick and the Dead is a piece by Claes Oldenburg called The Garden, originally concepted and proposed in 1968, but not realized until this exhibition. In general terms, the work consists of 100 objects buried in the ground and dug out and placed on display over the course of 100 days. For the installation at the Walker, we’ve used lemons as the object and are placing them on display in individual glass jars in the Bazinet Garden Lobby. Oldenburg’s instructions do not specify the objects to be used or the manner of display.
I caught up with Ellie McKinney who was tasked with digging up the first lemon:
Several days later, there are more lemons, and the first unearthed are beginning to mold:
There is a lot of meaning you could assign to the various elements and acts of the work: burial and unearthing, decay and display, and the passage of time are all rich in metaphors and crossover. There is also an interesting connection between the grid on/in the ground and the grid that is being re-created on the lobby wall, re-representing time in different ways. The computer scientist in me can’t help but see a relationship between a grid of pixels, waiting to be turned on or off and a timeline, waiting to have the playhead moved along.
On a purely pragmatic level, Any work that changes over time and breathes extra life into an often static gallery space is welcome energy. Regardless, I am curious and will check in on the work as it progresses over time.
Get Walker Reader in your inbox. Sign up to receive first word about our original videos, commissioned essays, curatorial perspectives, and artist interviews.