Forward Retreat

Symmetry is scary. That's the mainspring of Chris Burden's Urban Light, and now of Robert Irwin's design for the Rodin sculpture garden at LACMA. The central allee leads the eye to Balzac… but really, it's those regimented palm trees and the rhyme with Urban Light that fascinate. Even the sawtoothed roof of BCAM now fits into the program of brutalist geometry. Perhaps some day a 70-foot steam-belching locomotive will dangle from above. Ian Hamilton Finlay wrote that "Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks."


Anonymous said…
I sat bewildered in this park today. Palm trees, planting beds, and deathless bronze are plugged indifferently into a neutral planning grid. Perhaps others would like to see the Rodin statues organized and tidied up--with the single-scan visibility of a school head count.

I miss the old design. The sculptures had formerly been arranged with care and sensitivity in a wonderful garden, like so:

And more images here: