Art as Big as the Great Outdoors

AMOA has artists transform nature in a huge way and wants you to help

<i>Woven Bamboo</i>, by Andy Goldsworthy, 
Kiinagashima-cho, Japan, Nov. 29, 1987
Woven Bamboo, by Andy Goldsworthy, Kiinagashima-cho, Japan, Nov. 29, 1987

There's big art, and there's big art. For an example of the latter, drop by Wooldridge Park this Saturday, where a team of local artists and citizens will be creating some really big art. I mean, huge. As big as, well, the park. In fact, the park will be the work of art, the whole block transformed through the addition and arrangement of dozens of hay bales and other natural materials. This "community land drawing," as it's labeled, is inspired by the work of Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, whose work is featured in the Austin Museum of Art's new exhibition. "Andy Goldsworthy: Mountain and Coast Autumn Into Winter" focuses on a body of work the artist created in the mountains and coastal areas of Japan in 1987. Goldsworthy typically makes his sculptures in and of nature, constructing them from wood, water, stones, earth, and such, then leaving them to be changed by weather and time. The Wooldridge Park homage is sponsored by AMOA in partnership with the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, the Austin Parks Foundation, the Downtown Austin Alliance, Austin Green Art, and the Rhizome Collective. Local artists Randy Jewart, Beverly Penn, Margo Sawyer, and architect Chris Taylor are leading the creative enterprise, but they truly want the community's involvement. To that end, they encourage all of us to swing by the park at Ninth and Guadalupe streets and lend a hand in its transformation between noon and 4pm Saturday. If you want to get a sense of how they developed the project, they'll be discussing it at AMOA, 823 Congress, 11am-noon. If you need any more incentive, light snacks will be available. For more information, visit

When you visit the museum to see how Goldsworthy does it, you'll be able to see his own transformation of Austin, albeit a much smaller one. He visited the city in September of this year, and during an installation at a private collector's home, he fashioned a fragile sculpture of spider web and reed on the banks of Lake Austin. Six photographs, collectively titled "Web Drawings: Austin, Texas," document this work. It's their first public display, and they're accompanied by this poem:

Curled rush lines

worked into rings

then laid on cobwebs

along a path

to the house

where I was making

a wall drawing with

the same material

early morning


The words offer a window into our surroundings, the outdoor Austin that means so much to us, through artistic alchemy. Experience the change, on scales small and large. end story

"Andy Goldsworthy: Mountain and Coast Autumn Into Winter" runs Dec. 11-Feb. 20 at the Austin Museum of Art – Downtown, 823 Congress. For more information, visit

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site-specific art, Andy Goldsworthy, Austin Museum of Art, Andy Goldsworthy: Mountain and Coast Autumn into Winter, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, Austin Parks Foundation, Downtown Austin Alliance, Austin Green Art, Rhizome Collective, Randy Jewart, Beverly Penn, Margo Sawyer, Chris Taylor, Web Drawings: Austin, Texas

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