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“Green Acres” – Significant Work of Environmental Art in New Jersey – Threatened with Demolition

July 19, 2012

“Green Acres” in Trenton, New Jersey, a significant site-specific sculpture by Greek-American environmental artist Athena Tacha.

The fate of Green Acres, one of environmental artist Athena Tacha’s major commissions, is threatened with demolition by the State of New Jersey.   The site-specific work in Trenton is discussed in The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Landslide.  According to the Web site:

The Green Acres project, a 77 x 85 foot work, created in 1985, was the result of a competition held by the New Jersey State Council for the Arts’ % for Art program. The sculpture, which sits at the center of a red-quarry tile courtyard, was created in honor of the State’s land protection program, also called Green Acres, and contains 46 slabs of green granite onto which photographs of state landscapes, plants and animals (many of them endangered species) have been sandblasted. Crescent shaped planters with stepped seating ring the edges and the whole design recalls Roberto Burle Marx’s biomorphic modernism.

Green Acres is Tacha’s most complex commission and took two years to execute (at the not insignificant cost of $400,000); it has been praised by museum directors and art historians and is documented in the Contemporary Landscape Design Collection of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC.

An April 18, 2012 New Jersey Treasury Department letter informed Tacha that Green Acres would be destroyed on or after July 31, 2012 – the only alternative offered was removal of the sculpture at the artist’s expense. Green Acres has suffered from years of deferred maintenance and the Treasury Department asserts maintenance funding is not available in the current economic climate, despite the State legislature’s $1 million appropriation for restoring DEP’s courtyard (Green Acres was effectively restored in 2004-05 at a cost of about $30,000). The letter also stated that the piece poses a public safety risk during an emergency by impeding the evacuation of the building, an issue never before raised in the plaza’s 25-year history.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 20, 2012 9:14 PM

    Reblogged this on Christina Odell.

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