Desert Botanical Garden presents Philip Haas: The Four Seasons

August 25, 2012

A Monumental Contemporary Sculpture Installation


John Sallot – Director of Marketing   
Phone: 480 481.8101
E-Mail: jsallot@dbg.org

Images available at: http://www.dbg.org/media-center/resources

The Desert Botanical Garden is pleased to present a monumental installation of The Four Seasons, a set of four fifteen-foot fiberglass sculptures by American artist and film-maker Philip Haas. The installation will be on display in the Garden’s Stardust Foundation Plaza from October 26, 2012 – April 28, 2013.

In a spectacular transformation that is typical of his work, Philip Haas has created a group of large-scale sculptures, inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s renaissance paintings of the four seasons, comprising Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The colossal size of Haas’s sculpture accentuates the visual puzzle of natural forms –- flowers, ivy, moss, fungi, vegetables, fruit, trees, bark, branches, twigs -– as they are recycled to form four human portraits, each representing an individual season. The result is at once grotesque, earthy, and exuberant.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s eccentric, yet scientifically accurate, paintings of composite heads in profile were popular in the 16th century and then again in the 20th, when they were rediscovered by the Surrealists. Haas’s 21st–century reinterpretation has taken these beguiling paintings and brought them into the natural world. The idea of Arcimboldo in three dimensions is intriguing as the paintings are all in profile so the face-on view is something the viewer would never have seen.

The first work, Winter, was made in 2010 and was exhibited to great acclaim at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., before travelling in 2011 to the Piazza del Duomo in Milan and the Garden of Versailles. Fabrication of Spring, Summer and Autumn is now complete, and all four are on display in Dulwich Picture Gallery’s grounds this summer.

“This season the Garden steps into the world of contemporary art with Haas’ installation,” said Ken Schutz, executive director of the Desert Botanical Garden. “Visitors will be greeted by four monumental and whimsical interpretations of Arcimboldo’s paintings that I’m sure will be studied, photographed and enjoyed by everyone who sees them.”

"I started the FOUR SEASONS project wanting to bring Arcimboldo’s renaissance painted nature imagery into the twenty-first century physical world,” said Philip Haas. “I can’t think of a better venue than the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix to inaugurate the American tour of this work, where the sculptures will arrive in the New World, resting amid the cactus, having fled their earlier homes as paintings in European museums."

Haas’s exhibition of film installations at the Kimbell Art Museum, Butchers, Dragons, Gods and Skeletons, was listed by TIME magazine as one of the top ten museum shows of 2009. Retrospectives of his art films have been held at Tate, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Lincoln Center, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for this body of work.

His feature film Angels and Insects (1995), set in Victorian England, and was nominated for an Academy Award and the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or. Other feature films include The Music of Chance (1993), adapted from the Paul Auster novel, and Up at the Villa (2000), starring Sean Penn, Anne Bancroft, Derek Jacobi and Kristin Scott Thomas. He has had solo shows of paintings, sculpture and film installations at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York and Robilant + Voena, London.

After Desert Botanical Garden all four works will be on a two year tour of US botanical gardens and museums, including The New York Botanical Garden and Atlanta Botanical Garden.

When: October 26 2012 – April 28, 2013
Stardust Foundation Plaza
The exhibit is included with admission to the Garden.  Admission rates are $18.00 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for students with ID, $8 for children 3-12 years-of-age; Garden members and children 2 years and younger are admitted free.
A “Phoenix Point of Pride”, the Desert Botanical Garden is one of only a few botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. It is a privately funded, non-profit organization and depends on revenues from admissions and gift shop sales, as well as contributions from individuals and businesses to fund its programs of environmental education, plant conservation and research.

The Desert Botanical Garden is located inside Papago Park at 1201 North Galvin Parkway in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Garden is open every day, except Thanksgiving, December 25 and July 4, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.  Call (480) 941-1225 or visit www.dbg.org for more information.

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