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“He often said is that this was a garden not for the visitors. He was happy if visitors enjoyed it; it was a garden for the people who worked here, who every single day, would see the slight changes and would have a seasonal experience.”

The largest work of art at the Getty Center is located outside the galleries—the Central Garden, designed by artist Robert Irwin. The garden stretched Irwin’s understanding of what art could be; it is alive and changing with every passing moment. In the nearly 25 years since the garden opened in 1997, Getty’s gardeners and horticulturalists have worked tirelessly to execute Irwin’s original vision. This involves constantly evaluating the health of plants, whether the breeds are well suited to their locations, which plants have reached the end of their life, and how to manicure large plants to maintain a sense of openness.

First in this episode, Lawrence Weschler discusses artist Robert Irwin’s approach to art and the Central Garden. Weschler is the author of Getty Publications’ Robert Irwin Getty Garden, a series of conversations between the author and the artist. Next, Getty head of grounds and gardens Brian Houck and horticulturalist Jackie Flor walk through the garden, explaining the wide array of plantings and sculptural features as well as how the caretakers enact Irwin’s vision.

More to explore:

Robert Irwin Getty Garden buy the book

JAMES CUNO: Hello, I’m Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Welcome to Art and Ideas, a podcast in which I speak to artists, conservators, authors, and scholars about their work.
REN WESCHLER: He often said is that this was a garden not for the visitors. He was happy if visitor...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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