Grounds for Sculpture: Seeing the Seward Johnson Exhibits

Pam and I ventured into New Jersey on our trip south after our time in the Pocono Mountains. We stopped by the Grounds for Sculpture.  It was an overcast day, with the  sun making occasional appearances. 

Grounds for Sculpture.

Grounds for Sculpture.

A Seward Johnson sculpture, Strolling Professor.

A Seward Johnson sculpture, Strolling Professor.

As we approached the Grounds for Sculpture we began seeing realistic sculptures of people in various poses by the road and near intersections. I didn’t remember them from before, so I was intrigued by them. After we arrived we learned they were part of a special Seward Johnson exhibit.

Seward Johnson’s sculptures were located throughout the venue. Many of them were very realistic and required a moment of examination to determine if they were patrons or art. I liked Strolling Professor. He was reading a chemistry textbook, and the page was complete with text and figures.

Pam and I spent some time impersonating sculptures on a bench by a small pond. We would hold still, and inevitably every few minutes people would walk along the far side of the pond, spot us, and stop to stare for a moment. This was followed by discussions about whether we were sculptures or people. Then I would wave my hand or move my head and laughter would float across the pond. We did this for half an hour–it was highly entertaining.

The Seward Johnson sculpture, Between Appointments.

The Seward Johnson sculpture, Between Appointments.

I had my picture taken by a hedge-trimming sculpture.

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Most of the sculptures were life-sized, but some were  much larger than life. 

A large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.

A large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe.

Another large Seward Johnson sculpture.

Another large Seward Johnson sculpture.

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In one of the buildings many of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes were on display. The prototypes were about 12 inches tall and were not painted. It was fun to see the prototypes inside and then encounter the full-sized, finished versions outside.

One of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes.

One of the Seward Johnson sculpture prototypes.

The same building housed a section of sculptures that created 3-dimensional scenes from famous paintings. Visitors could walk in the display, thereby entering the painting. Pam walked into Gustave Caillebotte’s Paris: A Rainy Day (I didn’t capture the entire painting with the picture). 

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The sculptures and gardens were beautiful.

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I love the diversity of artwork. One of the whimsical statues captured my attention. Even though the title Sue’s Nightmare seems to indicate something menacing, I found the little critter amusing. It might even be smiling.

Sue's Nightmare, a sculpture that amused me.

Sue’s Nightmare, a sculpture that amused me.

The return of the photobomber.

The return of the photobomber.

The previous time I visited the Grounds for Sculpture I was disappointed to miss the peacocks. This time we saw a peacock wandering the grounds. It spent some time watching its reflection in glass. I expected nothing less form a peacock.

A peacock at the Grounds for Sculpture.

A peacock at the Grounds for Sculpture.

The Grounds for Sculpture is a delightful place to visit, made even more so delightful by the Seward Johnson exhibit. When art and gardens combine it is a wonderful thing.

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