Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 p.m.
Art and the Ecological Landscape
For the past forty years Patricia Johanson’s multidisciplinary designs have combined art, ecology, landscaping, and functional infrastructure. During the 1960s and 1970s Johanson worked for Joseph Cornell and Georgia O’Keeffe, designed a series of 150 gardens for HOUSE & GARDEN magazine, and created site plans for Mitchell/Giurgola buildings at Yale University, Columbus, Indiana, and Con Edison’s Indian Point Generating Facility.
Johanson graduated from Bennington College (1962), Hunter College (M.A., 1964), and the City College of New York School of Architecture (B.Arch, 1977), and received an honorary doctorate from Massachusetts College of Art (1995).
From 1981-86 Johanson created Fair Park Lagoon in Dallas, considered the earliest ecological artwork. At Fair Park Lagoon sculpture serves as causeways, bridges, seating, and islands that bring people into contact with living natural communities. “Endangered Garden,” a linear park along San Francisco Bay (1987) incorporates tidal sculpture, butterfly meadow, and habitat restorations into the image of the endangered San Francisco Garter Snake, which in turn becomes a one-third mile baywalk that coincides with the roof of a sewer.
Current large-scale projects include a “Park for the Amazon Rainforest” in Obidos, Brazil that reveals forest stratification and Nairobi River Park, Kenya, featuring sculpture that filters polluted river water. “Ulsan Dragon Park,” Korea and “The Rocky Marciano Trail,” Brockton, Massachusetts combine ecological and sculptural playgrounds, gardens, and bridges with flood control and watershed restoration. “Millenium Park” in Seoul, Korea (1999) transforms the world’s largest landfill into a sculptural guardian figure, whose terraced landscape provides active and passive recreation, as well as urban wildlife habitat.
Most recently Johanson designed a small urban garden for the French government, a 272-acre wetlands park in Petaluma, California that processes sewage into drinking water while encouraging education, recreation and wildlife, and “The Draw at Sugar House,” a sculptural and ecological highway crossing in Salt Lake City. Her latest project, a public park along Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota, showcases microbial communities and wetlands plants that purify stormwater.
Johanson's work has been seen in over 150 exhibitions worldwide, and her writings have been translated into eight languages. She is author of Creative Solutions to Environmental Problems (1992), "Preserving Biocultural Diversity in Public Parks" (1996), and "The City as an Ecological Art Form" (1998). Caffyn Kelley’s biography, Art and Survival: Patricia Johanson's Environmental Projects was published in 2006, and a two-volume study of the HOUSE AND GARDEN drawings is being published by Dumbarton Oaks in 2007. Johanson’s project drawings and models are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Storm King Art Center, Dallas Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Dumbarton Oaks Contemporary Landscape Design Collection. Awards include two Guggenheim Fellowships, NEA Fellowship, Townsend Harris Medal from the City College of New York, and Gold Medal from the Accademia Italia delle Arti.
For more information about Patricia's work, visit her website.Back to Lecture Series Home