Art, Gardens and Architecture, Getty Center

Miniature Getty Center Opens in Philadelphia

Getty Center garden installation at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadephia Flower Show

Look slightly familiar? This landscape-in-progress riffs on the Getty Center’s architecture and gardens. It’s on view March 1 to 9 at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadephia Flower Show.

Two thousand miles east of L.A., the final touches are being put on a pint-sized version of the Getty Center—in flowers. The mini-Getty will be unveiled Friday at the Philadelphia Flower Show organized by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which this year has challenged landscape architects to transform museums around the country into botanical form. Rising alongside the Getty Center are the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Barnes Foundation, and the North Carolina Museum of Art, to name just four of of this year’s participants.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s oldest and largest indoor flower show. (If you’re wondering why it’s indoors, check the weather in Philly today.) If it relates to plants, you’ll find it there: from massive displays of rare orchids to discussions on vegetable gardening to stop hunger.

Getty Center garden installation at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Philadephia Flower Show

Azaleas in full bloom, inspired by the Getty Center’s Azalea Pool, part of Robert Irwin’s Central Garden. In this photo, the water feature has yet to be filled.

Each participating museum worked with a garden designer who sought inspiration in its collections, buildings, or grounds. Our collaborator is the Philadelphia firm of Burke Brothers, whose landscape architect Vivianne Englund-Callahan created this SoCal moment in the middle of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In a bird’s-eye-view, the 40-by-55-foot installation looks like an abstract painting, filled with blocks of contrasting colors and textures.

Landscape architect's rendering of the Getty Center display at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Designer’s-eye-view rendering of the mini-Getty. Courtesy of Burke Brothers Landscape Design/Build

Two trellises, inspired by these lavender ones at the Getty Center, lead to a central open space surrounded by seating walls and flowering trees.

Lavender wisteria trellis at the Getty Center

The lavender trellis at the Getty Center, a pop of color amidst the travertine

Englund-Callahan drew inspiration for the installation from several aspects of the Getty Center’s architecture and gardens—the travertine grid, the Azalea Pool, and the cactus garden on the South Promontory overlooking L.A. Also—and really, what plant-lover could resist?—she snuck in a nod to Van Gogh’s Irises.

The Getty-in-flowers opens to the public on March 1 and closes March 9. If you’re in Philly and lucky enough to see it and its neighbors on this unusual and completely original museum row, snap it and share with the hashtag #ARTiculture.

Robert Irwin's Central Garden at the Getty Center

Central Garden at the (real) Getty Center

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      #ProvenancePeek: July 31

      Every art object has a story—not only of how it was made, but of how it changed hands over time until it found its current home. That story is provenance.

      This small panel by Dutch master Gerrit Dou (photographed only in black and white) is now in the collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. It was sold to American collector Robert Sterling Clark, an heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune, in the summer of 1922.

      How do we know this? Archival sleuthing! A peek into the handwritten stock books of M. Knoedler & Co. (book 7, page 10, row 40, to be exact) records the Dou in “July 1922” (right page, margin). Turning to the sales books, which lists dates and prices, we again find the painting under the heading “New York July 1922,” with its inventory number 14892. A tiny “31” in superscript above Clark’s name indicates the date the sale was recorded.

      M. Knoedler was one of the most influential dealers in the history of art, selling European paintings to collectors whose collections formed the genesis of great U.S. museums. The Knoedler stock books have recently been digitized and transformed into a searchable database, which anyone can query for free.

      Girl at a Window, 1623–75, Gerrit Dou. Oil on panel, 10 9/16 x 7 ½ in. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

      #ProvenancePeek is a monthly series by research assistant Kelly Davis peeking into #onthisday provenance finds from the M. Knoedler & Co. archives at the Getty Research Institute.


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