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the “Billy Rose sculpture garden” at the Israel Museum

I have never visted Jerusalem, but because of a recent acquisition for my inventory i want to share the experience of an actual visitor to the garden who truly enjoyed it. The catalogue of the sculpture garden is available at www.ftn-books.com

billy rose

It was a sunny Sunday morning, and I was strolling through a peaceful garden. This was the Billy Rose Art Garden, in the grounds of Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. The Museum has some impressive exhibits, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and extensive collections of art and archaeology. But the Scrolls would have to wait for another time: I was here for the sculpture.

Walking Through the Billy Rose Art Garden

I had the garden almost to myself. The sounds of birdsong and distant church bells competed for my attention. The paths were lined with fragrant plants. And there were sculptures everywhere, in perfect harmony with their surroundings.

Completed in 1965, the Billy Rose Art Garden was the work of Isamu Noguchi, an American sculptor. He followed the principles of Zen design, using a variety of different materials such as concrete, gravel and water, and featuring mostly native plants. The garden is set on a steep hillside, so that panoramic views of the city are incorporated into the landscape.

Sculptures Old and New

Some of the sculptures are by well known artists. As you enter the garden you are greeted by a statue of Adam by Auguste Rodin. Later on, a sculpture by Henry Moore poses against the city skyline. But others are more modern, often by contemporary Israeli sculptors. There is a giant stainless steel apple core, and the appropriately named “Turning the World Upside Down”, which reflects and inverts its surroundings.

The modern sculptures have not always been admired by everyone. It is said that Billy Rose, the American showman who founded and gave his name to the garden, commented that they should be “melted down for bullets”! Modern visitors might well disagree. For myself, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new, and the pleasure of turning every corner to find something different.

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Ian Hamilton Finlay and Little Sparta

finlay portrait

“Little Sparta” is the art filled garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay. IHF for some, because of his poems, a controversial artist, but for others a deserved nominee for the Turner price and invited for the Documenta 8, was a Scottish born artist who was evacuated to the Orkney Islands at the beginning of WWII but later joined the British army in in 1942. Since 1963 he publishes his own poetry and limited editions with the the Wild Hawthorne Press.

finlay even b

A publishing company owned by IHF himself. The little Sparta garden is filled with his poetry carved into stone , but beside these objects the garden itself is a true haven of tranquility and when of the classic works in the LAND ART scene.

Schermafbeelding 2017-12-01 om 12.19.30

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications by and on Ian Hamilton Finlay.