Connected and Disconnected

The enigmatic bronze figures of Dutch sculptor Hanneke Beaumont have been a source of great fascination and wonder since they first captured international attention in the late 1990s. Since then, her works have been exhibited and installed internationally from London to New York, Munich to The Hague. At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, her sculptures, #25 and #26, are a continual source of inquiry and enjoyment in the Sculpture Park.

Join us now through April 28 for Connected and Disconnected: The Sculpture of Hanneke Beaumont, which features features 14 works demonstrating the artist’s command of the human figure. As the title suggests, Beaumont’s works allow guests to explore what it means to be disconnected from one another in an otherwise connected world. Included with admission.

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Connected and Disconnected: Photo courtesy Chuck Heiney.
Hanneke Beaumont. Bronze #91, 2008-09. Patinated bronze on iron bases; 62 x 31 x 34 inches.
Hanneke Beaumont. Bronze #93, 2008-09. Patinated bronze on iron bases; 46 x 21 x 37 inches.

This is Beaumont’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. Her sculptures were created in a variety of media, such as terra cotta, bronze and iron and allow audiences the opportunity to understand her command of the human figure and her impressive fluency with materials.

Programming for the Exhibition

  • Perspectives
    Friday, February 22, 12 pm
    Katie Racey, Membership Manager
    Brett McPherson, Maintenance Staff
    Joann Wisnewski, Facility Attendant

Walk through the galleries with three staff members as they explore the exhibition from their own perspectives. Discover interesting personal interpretations of sculpture that you may never have considered before. Feel free to participate in the discussion; it is not necessary to be an art expert to find deeper meaning in art!

  • Gallery Walk
    Saturday, March 2, 2 pm
    Susan Wallsteadt, Psychology Professor, Grand Rapids Community College

Learn about the meaning of body language and facial expressions from a psychological point-of-view and explore the emotional content of Beaumont’s work.

Visit us at for additional information.

Beverly Pepper: A Curator’s Perspective

Turning steel into works of art, Beverly Pepper’s talents have awed Grand Rapids this summer during the exhibition Beverly Pepper: Palingenesis 1962-2012, on display until August 26. Heidi Holst, Curator of Arts Education, explains why Pepper’s work is unique and sought after.

“This exhibition is unique because it is set up chronologically to display Pepper’s earlier pieces in metal starting from the 1962 Spoleto exhibition to her latest works,” Holst said. She also said that the monumental size of the pieces add to the distinction of the exhibition.

Holst’s favorite pieces of Pepper’s work are her polished stainless-steel pieces. She said she loves their reflective qualities.

“You can see yourself and the surroundings of these pieces, allowing you to feel like a part of them both.”

In our gallery, Quadro Vuoto (far left) and Excathedra (front) by Beverly Pepper.

Beverly Pepper’s earlier work was done mostly using basic welding techniques. She then began exploring other methods including heating up rods to create a more expressive rough edge, Holst explained.

To compliment the exhibition, Holst created several programs including a themed walk through the Sculpture Park, a steel cutting demonstration and an opportunity to gain perspectives of Pepper’s work from select Meijer Gardens staff.

On the walk through the Sculpture Park, Holst provided guests with further insight into other female sculptors on Meijer Gardens’ 30+ acres.

During the steel cutting demonstration, guests were able to see a process similar to Pepper’s, as Assistant Conservator and Sculptor Andrew Kline cut steel using an oxygen/acetylene torch and prepared the steel for welding.

Steel cutting demonstration with Assistant Conservator Andrew Kline.

“Steel is a messy, hot, dirty, smelly and dangerous material to work with,” Holst said. “The demonstration allowed guests to feel a greater appreciation of Pepper’s work through seeing the difficulty of manipulating steel.”

The interactive opportunity to gain and share perspectives of Pepper’s work with Meijer Gardens staff members provided guests with personal interpretations of sculpture, allowing many to view sculpture in a new light. These programs provided a new understanding to Pepper’s work.

As the summer winds down, so does Beverly Pepper’s exhibition Palingenesis 1962-2012. The exhibition is open until August 26, so be sure to check out these steel masterpieces before it ends next week.

Summer Memories at Meijer Gardens (photos)

We can’t believe summer is almost over – it’s been a great one here at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park!

From 25 concerts (13 sold-out!) to hot days spent in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden to iconic works of steel featured at the Beverly Pepper exhibition, we hope this summer brought fun, excitement, the beauty of art and the wonder of gardens to all our guests.

What better way to show summer memories than through photos! Here are a few from our Instagram:

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“Lying Man” comes to life

Lying Man

If you attended a concert this summer or had a chance to walk through our newly renovated amphitheater, you may have noticed what looked like a man laying in some shrubbery, gazing thoughtfully at the sky. The larger-than-life figure is actually one of our newest sculptures, Lying Man by Sean Henry.

Sean Henry's studio

Henry’s work is recognized around the world and he is often credited with reviving the tradition of polychrome (painted) sculpture. His innovative approach centers around the human figure paused in quiet contemplation or captured in a moment of simple daily activity.

On Tuesday, October 25, Sean Henry will be the featured speaker at the C. Schoenknecht & W. Paul Sculpture Lecture as part of the Master Lecture Series. The lecture begins at 7 pm.

He will be sharing the history and development of his work along with influences and approaches that define his work. He’ll reflect on his most recent exhibition, “Conflux: A Union of the Sacred and the Anonymous,” currently on display at Salisbury Cathedral in England. Since opening in August, “Conflux” has already drawn 75,000 visitors.

Conflux exhibition

According to the Cathedral’s web site, “‘Conflux’ is a modern update of the pre-Reformation tradition of displaying polychrome figures and is believed to be the biggest single collection of polychrome sculpture in the Cathedral since the Reformation.” Henry himself, in various interviews, has described his sculptures “memorializing the everyday” and “drawing the viewer’s attention to the significance of the here and now.”

Another noteworthy effort is Henry’s Couple, his 13-meter-high sculpture that sits 300 yards out in the North Sea in Northumberland, England. It is Britain’s first offshore artwork. Check out this YouTube video of Couple:

Henry’s October 25 lecture is included with regular admission to Meijer Gardens.

The installation of “Lena’s Garden”

Meijer Gardens recently installed a second glass sculpture by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly. In May, “Lena’s Garden” was installed in our newly renovated cafe. It is 60 ft. ceiling sculpture made up of hundreds of glass elements in vibrant colors.

Here’s a snapshot of just a small piece of the sculpture:


The installation took over a week to install. Check out our Flickr photostream for a visual walk-through of the installation.

Day2_Armature2 Day3_2 Chihuly_Coolcolors

View the entire photostream here.