“We’ll be joining you on the tour. But first, I promised my boy I’d play catch with him.” Says Brian as he turns to engage his six-year old son in Judith Shea’s Heartland Garden adjacent to Laumeier Sculpture Park's museum shop. Two docents standing by (Ferda and Wes) are planning a strategy for who-ever shows up for the Sunday Tour (August 4, 2013). Soon enough we meet the rest of Brian’s family: in addition to six year old Ben, Lynn (mom) and baby brother Patrick are along. Then we have another family of four joining us: two boys (teenagers) and a girl (20-something) and an adult male.
“Welcome to the Laumeier Sculpture Park,” begins Wes. The Group is engaged. Maybe Brian is the only one in the group familiar with the St. Louis Post Dispatch front page story about the disposition of Ernest Trova works, but it is top of mind as Ferda and Wes have been talking about it. The Falling Man sculpture outside the museum shop is as good a place as any to begin our tour today. Grace Brod’s gift of Trova’s Falling Man/Study (Wrapped Manscape Figure) is just a few steps away as the tour is on the move south. We ponder and talk a little about Ken Lum’s The Space Between Scott & Plessy busts. The natural pull is to Tony Tasset’s Eyeball and a sense of adventure leads us from there into the Trova woods and Ernest Trova’s Poet by a Tree. An opening in the trees allows us to talk about di Suvero’s grand abstract expressions in sculpture Bornibus and Destino. Soon we make our way to Charles Ginnever’s Crete and Liberman’s The Way on the South Lawn. Route 27 by Bernard Williams and yet another Ernest Trova Profile Canto IV. On to that space beyond The Way. We all enjoy the Vito Acconci Face of the Earth. (I could not resist coaxing young Ben to step inside the nose as a setup. “That makes you a booger.” The punch line is received with smiles and groans from the group.) Richard Lobe’s Palm at the Edge of the Parking Lot, a little discussion of Donald Judd’s work (under repair behind chain link fencing) and the beams of minimalism by Robert Morris. A question about the Whitaker Trail results in a collective decision to traverse that pathway back to Isaac Witkin’s Hawthorne Tree. The 20-something is smiling. “I know you said there is no art on display on this trail but this is God’s Design,” she says. “Well said,” I add with a glance. “You are absolutely right.” Back to the clearing, a few moments with Matts Leiderstam’s panorama viewer on its tripod. Onto the popular Dre Wapenaar Tree Tent. (Three Kids climb the ladder while some find a seat on the tree trunk seats, nearby).
We wind up in back of the estate house with a few words about Joseph Havel’s Twins. Two families, two docents and the Joseph Havel Twins. The sculpture reminds our visitors of the Statue of Liberty because of the greenish color and the flowing nature of bed-sheets cast as a sculpture and stretching skyward.
Another beautiful day at the park. Brian and Lynn love the idea of those young children seeing art at such a young age. They have recently visited the St. Louis Art Museum and are planning a family trip by train to Chicago and the Art Institute.