A public garden & cultural center

Jackie Brookner: Of Nature

September 13 - December 04, 2016
Glyndor Gallery

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, Of Cotton & Earth, (detail) 1994-98

This is the first retrospective to trace the expansive work of Jackie Brookner (1945-2015), an artist focused on environmental issues. Her groundbreaking, remediative sculptural environments were designed as ecological filters to cleanse gray water, urban storm water and agricultural runoff. The exhibition includes early bronze sculptures and drawings from the 1980s, as well as the seminal Of Earth and Cotton project, which traveled through the American south in the 1990s. Her biosculpture I’m You, 2000, created for Wave Hill’s exhibition Abundant Invention, will be reinstalled alongside documentation of her public projects in San Jose, CA; West Palm Beach, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Fargo, ND; and Salo, Finland. Not only did she make environmental concerns visible, but she increasingly catalyzed people in a process to define spaces in their communities.

Jackie Brookner was based in New York for her entire artistic career. She received a BA in art history from Wellesley College in 1967, and completed the work for a PH.D. in art history from Harvard University, before shifting her focus to sculpture in 1971. She came to New York and lived in SoHo, then an emergent artist neighborhood. She studied at The New York Studio School and experimented with sculpture in steel and cast bronze, as well as drawing in graphite. A passionate teacher, she inspired students at Parsons The New School for Design from 1980 until her death.  From 2000 on, she created public projects for wetlands, rivers, streams and storm-water runoff that unite water remediation and public art. Throughout her career,she exhibited widely and has been included in many publications on the topic of public art and environmental remediation.

Curated by independent curator Amy Lipton and Wave Hill Senior Curator Jennifer McGregor.

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner public art projects presented with models, photographs, and iPad presentations. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, I’m You, 2000, steel, volcanic rock, moss, water, plants, fish, rubber, plywood, misting system and pumps. 67” x 112” x 50”. © Estate of Jackie Brookner. Photo: Stefan Hagen

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, Tongue Lounge, 1994, earth and wood, 42” x 31” x 55”. Untitled, n.d., monoprints, 22” x 15” (each). © Estate of Jackie Brookner. Photo: Stefan Hagen

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, Of Cotton & Earth, 1994-98, earth on wood shipping skids, 34 portraits. Collection of the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN.  Untitled (Mud Drawings), 1996, earth on paper. 30” x 22”. © Estate of Jackie Brookner. Photo: Stefan Hagen

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, Opening I, 1983, painted bronze, 32 ½” x 53” x 11 ½”. © Estate of Jackie Brookner.

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, Ongwe, 1979, bronze, 85” x 20” x 2 ½”. Private collection (above); Knot Dancers Choice, 1980, bronze, 11” x 11” x 9”; Open Stretch, 1983, Bronze, 9 ¾” x 25 ½” x 5 ½”; Hand, 1980, bronze, 17” x 9” x 3” (left to right). © Estate of Jackie Brookner. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Pictured above: Jackie Brookner, Kigal, 1981, painted bronze, 69” x 55” x 13”. © Estate of Jackie Brookner. Photo: Stefan Hagen.

Read the press release for the show here.  And Roger Denson’s article about the show in the Huffington Post is here

For more information on Veden Taika, 2007 ̶ 2010, Halikonlahti Bird Pools, Salo, Finland, click here.
For more information about the artist, click here.


Join us Saturday, September 17, for a Fall Exhibitions Reception,  including acurators’ tour at 3PM.


Of Nature: Symposium, Friday, November 11
This day of presentations and conversation will spotlight ways that artists are engaging with the environment.  Learn more, and register, here


The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.