Virginia Overton: Sculpture Gardens

June 10–Sept 25, 2016

For the second commissioned project on the Whitney’s fifth-floor terrace, New York-based artist Virginia Overton (b. 1971; Nashville, TN) explores the contrast between the concepts of the "sculpture garden" as a cultivated setting for contemplating artworks and the "garden sculpture" as a vernacular ornamental object. Taking inspiration from the Museum's windy rooftop site, situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, Overton has installed two towering windmills pumping air to multiple ponds planted with a variety of aquatic flowers and greenery.

In two adjacent galleries, Overton choreographs a series of encounters between her work and the Whitney’s architecture, highlighting the building’s relationship to the outdoors. A wallpapered image of the American Southwest visually expands one of the spaces, while the other features a group of abstract sculptures crafted from industrial and natural materials, some salvaged from the artist’s family farm. These sculptures transform the room into a kind of interior garden, a counterpoint to both Overton’s open-air installation and the environment beyond. 

Virginia Overton: Sculpture Gardens is organized by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator and Laura Phipps, assistant curator.

Generous support for Virginia Overton: Sculpture Gardens is provided by Bob and Pam Goergen.


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"Virginia Overton: Sculpture Gardens reinforces the outdoor space as a place of visitor interaction, to linger and make connections both with the narrative of art in the museum, and the natural and built urban environment visible outside."