16 January 2008

Walls and Boulders

Sometimes on my drive to work, I take Guard Hill Road in Bedford and pass a sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy, whose other work (like The Wall at Storm King) always delights us. There’s another Goldsworthy sculpture, called Wood Through Wall – a wishbone-shaped tree trunk embedded in a stone wall – at Buckhorn, a private art center in Pound Ridge, but we’ve never seen it. The great thing about the sculpture on Guard Hill Road (Three Roadside Boulders) is that it’s part of the roadside, not in a museum or private collection. It’s modest, clever, unexpected, always worth at least a glance and sometimes more, and you can see it whenever you want.

Here are some photos I took yesterday, showing an otherwise ordinary-looking stone wall, and then the boulders, from east to west.

andy goldsworthy on guard hill road

andy goldsworthy, Bedford, NY This i

andy goldsworthy, Bedford, NY

andy goldsworthy, Bedford, NY

In "Wall," a book of photos of Goldsworthy’s wall sculptures, Kenneth Baker writes that Three Roadside Boulders …

… explicitly evokes the burden it must have been to early farmers of the area to have new stones perennially surfacing. … a long stretch of dry-stone wall is abruptly interrupted by a gap that looks at first like a gateway. In fact, the gap is a set-back section of wall within which a single giant boulder appears to levitate. Two others like it stand farther along the wall. In each of them, a massive boulder sits, above ground, embedded in a ribbing of vertical slate slabs. The buff-colored boulders (found by Goldsworthy when they were uncovered on a construction site nearby) stand out against the dark gray slate like gemstones in settings, although he says he chose the boulders for their form, not their contrasting color.

I don't know who lives behind the wall of Three Roadside Boulders, or whether the owner now is the person who commissioned it. Land records list the owner as a company rather than an individual. What's the connection with modern houses? None really. Bedford isn't as well known for its modern houses as New Canaan, or even Pound Ridge, although there are a handful in the neighborhood. But the house behind Goldsworthy's wall isn't visible. -- TA


Amy said...

I drive by that piece often and admire it each time. I just photographed a Goldsworthy installation on a private property in Pound Ridge today - click here for the image. Thanks for the history of this as I've often wondered.

Tom Andersen + Gina Federico said...

We know of a Goldsworth installation on a property in Pound Ridge, but it's not the one you photographed. We'd love to know more.

[I realized that one of my photos of the Goldsworthy Wall was deleted when I had to make room on our Flickr page. Sorry!) -- ta