British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy (born 1956), known for working in, and with, the natural landscape, was invited by the Museum to create this year's installation for The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the most dramatic outdoor space for sculpture in New York City. Using split rails from New England agricultural sources and stones from Scotland, the artist has constructed two monumental domes of wood and stone entitled Stone Houses—each 18 feet in height and 24 feet in diameter—inspired by Central Park and its architectural backdrop. Inherent in these seemingly simple forms are the implicit power, beauty, mystery, and elemental aspects of nature, marked by the passage of time and by human contact.
Born in Cheshire, England, Goldsworthy studied fine art at the Bradford College of Art (1974–75) in Yorkshire and at Preston Polytechnic in Lancashire (1975–78), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He worked as a farm laborer outside Leeds from the age of thirteen and made his first constructions in stone in the late 1970s. He has worked in and of the land for the past twenty-five years, creating sculpture—much of it ephemeral—from such found materials as wood, stone, snow, ice, reeds, leaves, flowers, sand, and mud.
Permanent sculptures by Goldsworthy in the United States include Storm King Wall, 1997–98, at the Storm King Art Center (Mountainville, NY); Stone River, 2001, at Stanford University (Stanford, CA); Three Cairns, 2001–2, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Des Moines Art Center, and the Neuberger Museum of Art (Purchase, NY); and Garden of Stones, 2003, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (New York, NY).
Goldsworthy has produced numerous site-specific works and commissions in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Asia; has had solo museum exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Canada, and Japan; and is the subject of a documentary film, Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time, which was released in 2001.
Recording the ephemeral works in photographs is an important part of Goldsworthy's process. Eight books on his work have been published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc.; among them are Hand to Earth: Andy Goldsworthy Sculpture, 1976–1990 (1990), Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature (1990), Stone/Andy Goldsworthy (1994), Wood/Andy Goldsworthy (1996), Wall (2000), and Time (2000).
The installation is made possible by a grant from Cynthia Hazen Polsky, Leon B. Polsky and the Lita A. Hazen Charitable Trust.