Sited@Bernheim periodically generates site-specific art projects, which explore our deep relationship with nature by nationally and internationally known artists.
Created on site, by regionally emerging, nationally and internationally known artists, each piece becomes a part of an ongoing dialog that will connect people with nature, in engaging, and we hope sometimes challenging, ways.
Sited at Bernheim is also become part of a larger intellectual dialog about the nature of public art, and is a shining example of public art at its best. Hence it will have impact beyond Bernheim borders, and help to define the changing nature of contemporary art as the region and Louisville develops and unfurls its public art program and become apart of the energy that drives innovation on many levels.
The first of Sited@Bernheim was Snake Hollow, by internationally known artist, Patrick Dougherty. It was completed in April of 2012. This piece was built out of gathered willow saplings, a renewable resource, and built beside the Visitor Center by the artist and over 80 volunteers. It remained until November, 2013, at which point it was mulched and used on site, returning it to the earth. This sculpture was be used to enhance the visitor experience as well as school curriculum, entitled Weaving Science and Art through Nature.
Weir created the sculpture in honor of Barry Bingham Jr.’s (1933- 2006) life and service. Bingham, the former publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal and Louisville Times who guided the publications to win three Pulitzer Prizes, was also an avid environmentalist, photographer, and supporter of Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. He served on the Bernheim Board of Trustees from 1970-2006 and chaired the capital campaign for the Platium LEED Visitor Center and related projects.
The opening featured remarks from Weir, Bernheim’s Executive Director, Dr. Mark Wourms and Bingham’s widow, Edith.
Constructed entirely out of more than a ton of solid stacked limestone blocks, Earth Measure will beckon the visitor to explore notions of science, geometry, sound, and architecture while deepening one’s connection with nature.
When Weir was commissioned three years ago to create a sculpture, he looked beyond designing a traditional sculptural tribute. By researching Bingham and conducting interviews, Weir dug deep in to the principles that were important to both Barry Bingham Jr. and to Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.
Bingham appreciated nature, the environment and was passionate about its preservation. He believed that there was nothing more important than public service. He had a strong commitment to supporting the education, research and protecting the land that constitutes Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. He also believed that photography and art were important means of capturing and appreciating nature as we know it.
Earth Measure is an educational, interactive and multi-dimensional earthwork that must be experienced to be appreciated. It poses questions on the fundamental forms of the circle, square and triangle. It invites discovery by all ages both physically and intellectually. It places the visitor in a meadow and beckons them to tune in to acoustic ecology and soundscape science. In other words, the sculpture both frames the environment through its “lens” and captures the sounds of seasonal wildlife through audio waves directed to the center of the listening dome or parabolic sphere. It is simultaneously simple and complex, scientific and artistic, monumental and graceful.
Earth Measure also fulfills Isaac Wolfe Bernheim’s deepest intention for the gift he gave the people of Kentucky, when he established the arboretum and research forest. It creates an inspirational and uniquely contemplative space, or stage, as it were, for people to connect deeply with nature.
Please come and experience Earth Measure for yourself!
This sculpture was made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor.