As I mentioned earlier, I was in the mood for a wander, and the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx beckoned. I got off the D train, walked a few blocks down to the garden, and this was the first thing I saw. I had to smile, as it felt like I was looking at my own head: I had been fantasizing about flowers, butterflies, bees, all of it...

And then, a bend in the path, and another encounter with a wooly-headed woman. The Orchid Show is a knockout. But I was entranced by the monumental sculptures on the garden's sweeping lawns. They are by Spanish artist Manolo Valdes, and at the garden courtesy of the Marlborough Gallery. The Aluminum one above is called Butterflies. This one, of bronze and cor-ten steel is Fiore. I hope to visit this frowzy creatures in many more seasons.

The sun actually came out for 20 minutes, as I gazed into the face of Alhambra. NYBG has been giving us gorgeous art installations over the years; it adds a special dimension to enjoyment of the place.

The Dale Chihuly show a few years ago probably broke attendance records. But the Valdes show is equally spectacular, though quietly elegant. The heads stand up to 17 feet tall and more than 50 feet wide. Above is Guiomar.

Valdes lives and works in Madrid and New York. I hope to visit these frowzy creatures in many more seasons. I think my favorite piece--does everyone play the "What would you take home?" game at galleries and museums? I always do, wishfully--is the icy Galatea, Greek for "she who is milk-white."

Galatea is equally fascinating from behind, and she sent me back to Ovid's Metamorphoses, a favorite book, to reread the story of the king Pygmalion, who fell in love with a statue he carved. She was brought to life; they married.


Flo said...

Wowwwwwwwwwwww! Mightily inspired! Thank you Dominique!

karensandburg said...

that first picture. come ON! so excited about visiting these pieces and the park which you've been writing about for years. i map quested it and 'lo, it just happens to be right across the street - right across the street! - from one of our college visits. the last time i saw giant head sculptures was at the charleston Spoleto Festival before tourists discovered the then little known festival. we wandered the charming streets, surprised at many turns by these wondrous heads (can't remember the artists name). my husband and i definately played the which-one-do-you-want-to-take-home game.