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Existence and Experience in Contemporary Garden Design

Garden and Landscape Symposium, May 4–7, 2005

Description of Event

Contemporary garden design receives little attention from art critics, even less than landscape design, Land Art or Earthworks. But the specificity of garden art/design deserves scholarly scrutiny since it reveals aspects of the art world outside museums, art galleries or university art departments. This symposium intends to discuss the possible contribution of contemporary designers to a production of new aesthetic experiences provided by gardens.

Over the course of three days, we will explore how contemporary gardens have been created in response to contemporary existential problems that have enabled a cultural response to these problems, articulated by their users, dwellers and visitors. We will also discuss new cultural or social issues, creatively confronted by artists, that bring about the invention of new garden types.

We will explore the works of these different artists and how they responded to new existential problems in their respective societies, provided new aesthetic experiences, and contributed significantly to some cultural changes.

Most presentations will be centered on one artist only, such as: Paolo Burgi (Switzerland), Andy Cao (Japan), Fernando Chacel (Brazil), Claude Cormier (Canada), Cecile Deladier (France), Dan Graham (US), Patricia Johanson (US), Bernard Lassus (France), and Mohammad Shaheer (India).

This year Dumbarton Oaks and the United States Botanic Garden will organize an exceptional event, to take place the day before the opening of the symposium. In order to enable participants to meet with the artists named above, who will not be giving presentations during the symposium, we have invited them to engage in the discovery of a part of the National Arboretum and share their way of experiencing nature, each with a small group of participants. This will be followed by a picnic at the National Arboretum for all artists and participants.

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