I visited the Grounds For Sculpture this week and cannot recommend it highly enough for those interested in a deeply immersive, pop culture experience that can transport you everywhere from Impressionist-era France to V-J Day and up Marilyn Monroe's dress. The Grounds For Sculpture is mainly the vision of the artist Seward Johnson, whose work is best described as a mash-up of Jeff Koons and Roy Lichtenstein. Johnson's main conceit is taking iconic images ("American Gothic," for example) and creating larger-than-life sculptures placed in the natural environment. While some might call it derivative or trite, as has been noted about Warhol's Campbell Soup cans, if it was so obvious to everyone, why didn't anyone else think to do it?
The area near Rat's Restaurant is a transformed 1890s Parisian joy. The Monet bridge crosses over onto the patio, and you will walk by these two characters sitting by the water:
The patio abuts a pond and garden. The former has brightly colored fish and the latter, a rainbow assortment of flowers:
Walking the grounds, you will find iconic images like the aforementioned Ms. Monroe, the couple from Grant Wood's "American Gothic" and a man who appears to be James Dean from the movie "Giant":
Right behind the visitor's center you will be transported to the V-J day celebration:
While on the bluffs overlooking the visitor's center is this stunning odalisque, a possible homage to Manet:
The seating area by the Peacock Cafe also has a Parisian vibe:
As you head toward the meadow, you will see everything from a sculpture that has a "True Detective" kind of vibe to it:
to a life-like representation of Matisse's Dance:
In the Meadow, you'll find The Awakening, a stunning sculpture of a giant attempting to elevate himself out of the ground:
Men in a Great Depression-era soup line:
and the Three Fates:
Of course, there are many other things to see, but a few provisos. First, admission is $15 per person. For me, I would have paid twice as much for the experience. Second, be prepared for crowds, especially on the weekend and in nice weather. I went on a weekday at 10 AM when the Grounds opened, and there were still dozens of people there. For photography purposes, it makes things tricky, so plan accordingly.