SEWARD JOHNSON: The Retrospective
Grounds For Sculpture’s largest exhibition to date, Seward Johnson: The Retrospective, opened to the public on May 4 and has brought record numbers of guests to the park ever since. In May 2014, the not-for-profit sculpture park attracted 30,000 visitors—nearly 20 percent of its annual attendance. The trend continued as extensive media coverage, ideal weather, and the sheer popularity of Johnson’s work created perfect conditions for this unprecedented visitation. To date, there have been nearly 145,000 visitors to the park during this landmark exhibition.
Johnson, who founded Grounds For Sculpture in 1992 and was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2013, couldn’t be more pleased. “When we created the park, we did so with the hope that it would fill people with the emotional sustenance derived from the powerful and restorative connection between art and nature,” he says, “I had no idea how much emotional sustenance I myself would receive from the countless visitors who have encountered the park and my work in it. I am truly honored and humbled by the success of my retrospective exhibition.”
The exhibition was scheduled to close on September 21, but due to its overwhelming popularity, over 150 outdoor sculpture installations will be extended into July 2015. Seward Johnson: The Retrospective presents an overview of the popular sculptor’s 50-year career through a lifetime collection of his works, including Forever Marilyn, the 26-foot tall, 36,000-pound Marilyn Monroe sculpture from his Icons Revisited series (on view until spring, 2015), as well as the lifelike bronze figures of ordinary people that are familiar sights throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia from his Celebrating the Familiar series.
The outdoor elements of the exhibit include 10 monumental scale bronzes, never before brought together in one location, as well as works from Beyond The Frame, a series which invites visitors to step into famous Impressionist paintings and become part of the scene. One of the shows’ most exciting pieces is The Awakening, a 70-foot long giant emerging from the earth whose 17-foot arm extends dramatically into the sky.
Visitors to the park can now find several of Johnson’s not-to-be-missed lifescale vignettes in a pop-up exhibition entitled “The Ladies Room.” These can be found adjacent to the Welcome Center in the Cecelia Joyce and Seward Johnson Gallery. Favorites, which were formerly on view in the Museum building, include Johnson’s interactive rendition of Mona Lisa called “A Reason to Smile,” the remarkable nude in her elaborate boudoir in homage to Manet, “Confrontational Vulnerability,” and Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring á la Johnson titled “The Nature of Obsession.”
Paula Stoeke, guest curator for the retrospective exhibition notes: “There has been a remarkable response from both the media and the continuing flood of visitors to the park, local and international. This gathering of sculptures will never be seen all together again and I encourage everyone to plan a visit.”
|Download The Retrospective map here!|