Gardeners and Art: A Juxtoposition

I love museums!  These spaces highlight opportunities for learning and encourage an appreciation for curiosity and inquiry.  I’ve learned to not just look at the exhibits for what they hold, but to also think about how they are constructed and curated to tell a particular story.

Earlier this week I was in Los Angeles at the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum which sits adjacent to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).  On a sunny, warm winter day I had the luxury of wandering the grounds of both museums, enjoying the exhibits, the outdoor sculptures and art, the beautiful gardens, and the expansive well-groomed lawns.

As I explored the sculpture gardens I noticed the gardeners hard at work, mowing and raking…making sure the museum grounds were pristine.  They also seemed highly aware of the museum visitors and tried to avoid obstructing camera views or otherwise interfering with the visitors’ experience.

And I found myself wanting to capture the juxtaposition of the celebrity of the art with the unassuming work of the gardeners.

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I noticed that the gardeners were highly aware of the visitors and made every effort to be unobtrusive as they went about the work of maintaining the pristine landscape.  I actually had to work to capture their photos…especially this first photo where I really wanted both the sculpture and the gardener with the lawnmower in the image.

And then I worked with editing apps to create images that featured the gardeners and captured the essential, beautiful nature of their work.

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Why is it that we celebrate the work of artists and scientists, but ignore the work of gardeners, cleaning staff, waiters and waitresses?  These are the people who make our places comfortable and beautiful.  They make sure that things are in working order, that trash gets deposited out of sight, they make our places smell nice and look nice.

So this post acknowledges the juxtaposition…and celebrates the work of those whose work is just under the surface of our attention.  These gardeners are essential to the experience I had on the museum grounds earlier this week.  They contributed to the aesthetics of the art and are essential to the museum experience.

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