Green Acres Saved! Gov. Christie says Athena Tacha’s Site-Specific Installation in Trenton, NJ – Recently Slated for Demolition – Will be Restored
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Modernist Landscape Installation, Tacha’s Most Complex, Honors NJ Land Preservation Program
Washington, DC (August 27, 2012) – The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Preservation New Jersey and ArtPride New Jersey today announced that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reversed a decision to demolish the site-specific installation, Green Acres, located in Trenton, NJ. Green Acres, created by artist Athena Tacha in 1985 and named in honor of the State’s similarly named land protection program, is located in the courtyard of an office complex housing the State’s Department of Environmental Protection. An April 18, 2012 New Jersey State Treasury Department letter informed Tacha that the work would be demolished after July 31, 2012, unless the artist removed the work at her own expense. The proposed demolition received extensive coverage from the Associated Press, Newark Star Ledger, Philadelphia Inquirer, Times of Trenton, along with Architect Magazine, the Art Market Monitor, Artinfo.com, ASLA The Dirt, the Huffington Post, Landscape Architecture Magazine and many others. On August 23, 2012, Amy Cradic, a policy advisor to Gov. Christie, informed Tacha of the decision not to demolish Green Acres and, pending available funding, to restore the installation.
Green Acres is the most complex of the more than 40 US commissions produced in the past 35 years by Tacha at locations ranging from New York to Alaska, including an entire city-block park in downtown Philadelphia. Tacha is one of the initiators of "site-specific" architectural sculpture -- a significant shift in attitude that brought "land art" into a social context.
The Green Acres project was the result of a competition held by the New Jersey State Council for the Arts’ Percent for Art program. The sculpture, which sits at the center of a red-quarry tile courtyard, contains 46 slabs of green granite onto which photographs of state landscapes, plants and animals (many of them endangered species) have been sandblasted. Crescent shaped planters with stepped seating ring the edges and the whole design recalls Roberto Burle Marx’s biomorphic modernism.
"I am very pleased that the State of New Jersey has committed to preserving Green Acres,” said Athena Tacha, “and look forward to working with State officials on the site's restoration."
“Modernist landscape architecture and installations like Green Acres are still underappreciated, which makes the preservation of this work a nationally significant decision,” said Charles Birnbaum, founder and president, The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
“Preservation New Jersey applauds the State of New Jersey’s decision to repair Green Acres. Repairing this landscape, as opposed to demolishing it, avoids the potential addition of several tons of new waste to a landfill, thereby exemplifying sustainability in addition to preserving a remarkable modern landscape,” said Stephanie Cherry-Farmer, Senior Programs Director, Preservation New Jersey.
“The State's renewed commitment to Green Acres is testimony to its cultural value and guarantees its future as a significant piece of site-specific public art in New Jersey,” said Ann Marie Miller, Executive Director, ArtPride NJ Foundation.
About ArtPride New Jersey Foundation
ArtPride New Jersey, a coalition of arts organizations and individuals, advocates at local, state and national levels for funding, support and recognition of the arts as vital to New Jersey’s quality of life, education, and economic vitality.
About Preservation New Jersey
In our 34th Year, Preservation New Jersey is still your lifeline to those special places you want to live in today and remember tomorrow. Preservation NJ is the only statewide, membership-based organization that works to protect unique, historic “someplaces” from becoming “anyplace” in New Jersey. We rely on our membership to help us carry on our programs and we would value YOU as a member. Please go to our website at www.preservationnj.org for membership information.
About The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)
TCLF provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations.