the garden: max adrian


There’s a new tenant in the sculpture garden, singing songs from a vagabond’s pleasure palace of leaves stained crimson. An autumn threnody—a tragedy in thirteen parts—but the final act hasn’t yet been written. Nobody else seems to mind the background noise as they go about their business. Proud busts of forgotten nobles, carved before anyone can remember, breed curiosities under the mirrorball moon while a strange couple meanders along the cobblestone walkways, each with one hand in a pocket and the other clasping a warped ball of clay. Nearby a sole figure stands resolute at the top of a hill and yells politely to nobody in particular. “Excuse me,” he seems to say, over and over again. “Excuse me, please.”


    “The Loser’s Prize” 8 x 8 x 6″ 2014

There’s always activity in this garden, especially after sunset when the guards begin their flashlight vigils and the owls swoop in to swap stories about witchcraft kids casting spells in the shadows. Suffering from a severe case of insomnia, an elderly woman brings her knitting along and has a seat on the grass, letting her fingers do all the work and listening to the sound of the crickets perform, an audience of one.
The more frequent of the garden’s visitors roaming by lamplight may notice that many of the sculptures occasionally choose new sites for their installation: A wing-footed lad flies to the top of the museum and takes a thoughtful gargoyle stance while the two newest statues jump off their plinths to hide in the bushes and kiss each other’s fingertips. Oversized tableware flings itself into a nearby pond, and a shiny silver bean, bent in the middle, rolls onto its back in order to stargaze. Most arresting of all are the monumental infants—those odd bronze babies—who crawl across the lawn, whispering all the world’s futures in a foreign tongue and stoically waiting for someone who can decipher them.


“The Winner’s Prize” 9 x 5 x 4″ 2014

Somewhere deep within the sculpture garden is a small, moss-covered angel bathing in an old drinking fountain, cracked down its basin in one long curve and partially overtaken by vines. When a thirsty nighttime wanderer takes from this fountain a quick, desperate sip, the water leaks down the crack and onto the walkway and, for a moment, shows the whole night sky in its quiet reflection.

text, sculpture, and photography Max Adrian