by Jamie Thompson
At the Portland Museum of Art (PMA), this summer is all about sculpture. On July 7, the museum will debut its new David E. Shaw and Family Sculpture Park in the Joan B. Burns Garden at a grand opening event. The sculpture park unveiling coincides with “A New American Sculpture, 1914-1945: Lachaise, Laurent, Nadelman and Zorach,” a groundbreaking exhibition of approximately 60 sculptures and preparatory drawings by four major figures of modernism. The four European-born artists came to the United States and, working independently, pioneered a fresh style of sculpture that reinvigorated the medium and set the tone for future sculptors.
Regular visitors to the PMA should be familiar with Celeste Roberge’s “Rising Cairn,” a crouched figure formed by a metal cage and encasing rounded stones. But since its installation in the museum’s Joan B. Burns Garden in 2000, visitors have only been able to glimpse it from afar, via viewpoints inside the museum, or from the High Street sidewalk.
Starting July 7, the sculpture park will be open to everyone during regular museum hours, whether or not they are museum visitors.