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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Parks Celebrates The Holidays With Its 26th Wreath Exhibit

Detail of a wreath from exhibit
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the 26th annual Wreath Interpretations exhibition, a holiday tradition at the Arsenal in Central Park. Fine artists, environmentalists, landscape architects, graphic designers and other creative souls from within and outside the Parks Department have used materials such as foliage, wire, bicycle wheels, and forged iron to create 27 unique wreaths.

“Tis the season, and once again the halls of the Arsenal Gallery are decked with interpretative wreaths created by the City’s artistic spirits,” said Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “This year’s collection celebrates a cherished holiday tradition and features everything from traditional wreaths of native New York City plants to more industrial interpretations with circuit boards, wire and lights, as well as bicycle and motorcycle parts. We thank the artists for putting their creative spin on this timeless circular form.”

This year’s exhibition offers a diverse collection of wreath interpretations. While some artists use an organic base of classic evergreens, branches and pinecones, others approach their wreaths with more modern industrial and technology-based materials. One artist built up layers of cork to create a topographical map wreath. Another used actual parts of Harley Davidson motorcycles which he used to travel the world with.

The individuals and groups who produced the pieces are: Carolyn Antonucci-Almeida, Beryl Brenner, Trang M. Bui, the Central Park Conservancy 7th Grade Scholars, Angelyn Chandler, Patricia Clark, Judith Hoffman Corwin, Oliver Corwin, the Parks Grants Unit, Larry Hagberg, Cliff Harris, Yen Ngoc Huynh, Helen Ho, Karen Overton, Camille Joseph, George Kroenert, the Lost Battalion Hall Afterschool, Freddie Piscina, Leonora Retsas, Michiko Shimojo, Jonathan VanDyke, the Parks Monuments Division, Barbara Wallace, Dana Wilner, Takeshi Yamada, Madeline Yanni, Audrey Zeidman and Deborah Zingale.

Today the word “wreath” most often invokes thoughts of the holiday season and round boughs of evergreens. Historically, they were used as a sign of importance and victory. In ancient Rome, wreaths were worn on the heads of leaders, much like a crown. The Greeks placed wreaths on the heads of the winning athletes at the first Olympic Games. During the winter, ancient Germanic peoples placed evergreen boughs in a circle to indicate life through the winter. But whatever form the wreath may take, including those of nontraditional materials, it symbolizes life and hope for the winter and the holiday season.

The exhibition was organized by Parks & Recreation’s Public Art Coordinator Meg Duguid and Dana Wilner and will be on display from December 4, 2008 through January 9, 2009. Many of the wreaths are for sale with a portion of the sales benefiting Parks’ public art program.
The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history. It is located on the third floor of the Parks Department Headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed December 25, 2007. Admission is free.


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