at the DeCordova

DeCordova museum (Lincoln, MA)

Now that the dust is finally settling a little on the homefront (or, more accurately, the passing of time is making the continuing chaos easier to  ignore) it’s time to get out and start exploring the new turf. Destination: the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

During this past October and November when I was living at a boarding house in MA weekdays and going back home to VT on the weekends, my curiosity was piqued by the DeCordova Museum signs I kept passing going both ways on I-95.  And then I discovered my new employer was an underwriter of exhibits at the museum, and I knew I’d have to get there sooner or later. Today was the day.

After a winding drive through the beautifully wooded hills around Lincoln, the DeCordova entrance appeared with large metal sculptures punctuating the surrounding golden woods. A short walk up the hill to the Museum building revealed more sculptures accentuating the walkway and nearby grounds. It was tempting to start the journey right there but the inside space seemed like the best way to get familiarized with the collection on the first visit.

One of the first pieces encountered was Capturing Resonance, by Soo Sunny Park and Spencer Topel. The gracefully undulated chain link framework was hung with hundreds of small, iridescent Plexi panels that shone in this winter afternoon’s incoming low light. At intervals activated by visitor movement, the whole structure rumbled and shook occasionally with a  low metallic hum. Another sound effect that emanated from it periodically was eerily reminiscent of the music of a glass armonica. Enchanting.

A man was filming the exhibit and I was just trying to figure out how to dodge his camera when he asked, “so what do you think of it?” He was pleased to hear the positive response, and said, “thank you“. What luck, to encounter Spencer Topel himself on a Sunday afternoon at the DeCordova! I found out he’s also a composer, on the faculty at Dartmouth College and currently completing doctoral studies at Cornell. We have a common acquaintance in the composer Rob Paterson. And, we’re both from Denver. Lots to talk about but little time for it today. Another time. We’ll be in touch again soon.

The rest of the afternoon was spent touring the other several exhibit areas (“platforms”) in the Museum, and strolling the expansive walking path through the outdoor sculpture garden. A few of the highlights are below.

The DeCordova website lists a snow shoeing tour of the grounds next Saturday. I doubt that will happen, with the exceedingly warm fall and early winter we’ve had so far. If you’re in the area, take advantage of that now and enjoy the last of autumn with a walk through the museum’s lovely sculpture garden. From colossal silver pipe constructions to much smaller, more subtle installations, pleasant surprises await at every turn on the granite stone path.


Capturing Resonance, as viewed from above…you can see one of the two artists, Spencer Topel, walking through below. He was on his own video mission today to record the exhibit for his portfolio.

Erwin Wurm’s Am I A House? (excerpt):

Paul Matisse’s The Musical Fence:

Nam June Paik’s Requiem for the 20th Century:

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