Art and nature come face-to-face at four St. Louis sculpture parks that offer very different experiences.
Laumeier Sculpture Park, one of the premier sculpture parks in the U.S., dazzles visitors with 60 works of large-scale outdoor sculpture in a 105-acre park, complete with rolling lawns, hiking trails through woods and the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center for exhibitions and events. The roster of international artists represented at Laumeier (rhymes with “now higher”) includes Vito Acconci, Mark di Suvero, Donald Baechler, Jonathan Borofsky, Anthony Caro, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jackie Ferrara, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Alexander Liberman, Robert Morris, Beverly Pepper, Tony Tasset and Ernest Trova. Dogs and picnics are welcome.
Citygarden, two imaginatively landscaped blocks in the heart of downtown St. Louis, features a sterling collection of sculptures by internationally recognized artists like Keith Haring, Martin Puryear, Mimmo Paladino, Bernar Venet and Tony Smith—23 in all, including two dramatically different interpretations of Pinocchio by Jim Dine and Tom Otterness, a giant head kids can climb inside by Igor Mitoraj and a monumental relief sculpture by Fernand Leger. A visit is usually accompanied by the happy noise of kids enjoying Citygarden’s bubbler fountains and wading pools.
The atmosphere leans toward quiet contemplation at the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Grace Taylor Broughton Sculpture Garden, directly south of the museum building, where regimented plantings of trees and walking paths (by French landscape architect Michel Desvigne) separate the garden’s strong collection of 20th century and contemporary sculpture by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Aristide Maillol, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Mathias Gasteiger and Masayuki Nagare.
Missouri Botanical Garden earns its international reputation primarily for the flora that animates and beautifies its 79 acres, but the garden also exhibits a formidable collection of sculptures large and small—over 50 in all—by such artists as Dale Chihuly, Jacques Lipchitz, Francoios-Xavier Lalanne, Paolo Soleri, Frank Stella and Carl Milles, whose seven bronze sculptures enliven the lily pools in front of the Climatron.