Nature is both backdrop and subject at the New York Botanical Gardens this summer where two shows make the trip to the Bronx especially worthwhile. On loan through August 2003 are 15 of the Museum of Modern Art’s sculptures usually on view in the museum’s 53rd Street garden which is now a construction zone until the new building is finished in 2005. The works include Aristide Maillol’s “The river”, Auguste Rodin’s “Monument to Balzac”, Henry Moore’s “Family group” and Picasso’s “She-goat”, all on view in the the courtyard of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the largest Victorian glasshouse in the US. Each sculpture has been framed by seasonal plantings that set them apart from the larger natural environment. The inaugural exhibition in the Garden’s William D. Rondina and Giovanni Foroni LoFaro Gallery is a collection of medieval guides to medicinal plants, records of botanical expeditions, and depictions of gardens ranging in date from 1190 to 1884, is also on view (until 31 July). These exquisite prints include everything from medieval drawings of medicinal plants to the requisite Redouté to maps plotting tree plantings in the mid-Atlantic US made by Francois André Michaux, who was charged with making studies for the reforestation project in France after the Revolution destroyed the landscape.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'MoMA sculptures. Plants and gardens portrayed. Rare and illustrated books from the Luesther T. Mertz Library'