new-york

Sculpture Garden

Ward’s Island

First of all, it’s hard to compete with the freshness of Wave Hill. Secondly, when the genii loci are outcasts, as are the psychiatric patients on Ward’s Island (however pleasant it would be to pretend that visitors to and inmates in these hospital grounds comprise one big family), and when the bucolic aspects of the place itself are overshadowed by the steel girders of the Triborough Bridge and by industrial structures of vague import, you fight a sense of purlieu panic just in visiting the other annual outdoor sculpture show. But, thirdly, when the art does little to capitalize on this edginess and seems tired and predictable to boot, then you’ve plain run out of excuses.

Well, perhaps not quite. Maybe the show is so big (110 sculptures on 122 acres) that, like the art scene in general, there can be only a handful of quality products. Looked at this way, the percentage of interesting work

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