Meijer Gardens Presents an Exploration of George Segal's Work Across a Wide Range of Media and Materials

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George Segal: Body Language will be the first opportunity to view the artist’s sculptures side-by-side with a recent gift of prints from the Segal Foundation.

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George Segal in Studio circa 1960

“The George and Helen Segal Foundation is pleased to see Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park exhibit their collection of Segal works along with rarely seen prints,” said Rena Segal, President of the George and Helen Segal Foundation. “It is wonderful that his work will inspire new audiences.”

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is honored to announce the upcoming sculpture exhibition, George Segal: Body Language. Opening on April 3, 2020, this exclusive exhibition organized by Meijer Gardens and the Segal Foundation explores Segal’s career and focuses on his remarkable versatility in representing body language across different media including plaster and various print techniques. This exhibition will run through August 16, 2020.

Approximately sixty years ago, George Segal embraced a new working process that catapulted him to become one of the most recognized twentieth-century sculptors. During the summer of 1961, Segal was introduced to medical gauze bandages which he began to use as a primary material to cast plaster sculptures. The following year he was included in the legendary exhibition The New Realists, along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Jim Dine. In response to this group exhibition, the American media began to refer to the artists as a new movement: Pop Art.

George Segal: Body Language will revisit the career of George Segal and focus on his remarkable versatility in representing body language across a variety of materials. This is the first exhibition of Segal’s work at Meijer Gardens since 2004 and will be the first time that a selection of the gift of 31 prints from the Segal Foundation will be on display.

“We are thrilled to share this selection of George Segal’s sculptures, reliefs and two-dimensional works with our guests,” said Jochen Wierich, Curator of Sculpture & Sculpture Exhibitions at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. “Segal’s exploration of the human body across different media continues to resonate. By showing the wide range of prints he made while also working on sculpture, we hope to add a new and largely unexplored dimension to this important 20th century artist.”

Exhibition Programming - Exhibition programs are drop-in and registration is not required.

  • Drop-In Workshop: Body Fragment Collages

Sunday, April 5, 1–4 pm
Fee: Included with Admission
Lotus Liu, Education Department Intern
Explore the exhibition then create your own collage with human figures cut out of magazines. You will learn why the artist used fragmented body images in his artworks, and get creative with colors, shapes and compositions. All materials provided. Best for adults and older children.

  • Lecture: Body Imagery in Contemporary Art

Sunday, May 17, 2 pm
Fee: Included with Admission
Dr. Suzanne Eberle, Professor of Art History, Kendall College of Art and Design
Though the human body has been central to art throughout most of history, modernists often severely distorted or completely eliminated the figure as a subject during much of the 20th century. In the late 1960's, the body returned as a key focus for artists. Join us for this presentation about how and why the body has recently been such a meaningful, beautiful and often controversial topic for aesthetic investigation.

  • Drop-In Workshop: Capturing What's Not There

Sunday, June 14, 1–4 pm
Fee: Included with Admission
Becca Guyette, Director of Learning and Engagement at ArtPrize
Explore the role of positive versus negative space in this drop-in activity. Check out the exhibition and then use light, line, pencil and paper to create a silhouette of yourself, a friend or an everyday object. For Segal, capturing what is not present was just as important as capturing what is. His monochromatic figures recall snapshots of memories. All materials provided. Best for adults and older children.

  • Sculpture Walk: Figures in the Gardens

Sunday, July 12, 2 pm
Fee: Included with Admission
Amber Oudsema, Curator of Arts Education
Explore the Sculpture Park with Curator of Arts Education, Amber Oudsema during an hour-long walk, discussing sculptures that focus on the human figure. Learn about how artists investigate the human condition through the body.

  • Lecture: Exploring Process - Printmaking

Sunday, August 9th, 2 pm
Fee: Included with Admission
Mariel Versluis, Chair of the Printmaking Program at Kendall College of Art and Design
Join working artist and college professor, Mariel Versluis, as she discusses the processes of printmaking. Topics will include why an artist might choose one printmaking process over the other, when to add color and which medium is her favorite. See some examples of Versluis’s work and equipment and learn about this widely appreciated and complex artistic process.

George Segal: Body Language is made possible by:
The Meijer Foundation
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation
Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts

Images available HERE

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About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park promotes the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts. One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Meijer Gardens welcomed 696,000 visitors in 2018 and was recently listed in the top 30 most visited museums in the United States by The Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by George Segal, Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Jaume Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Mark di Suvero, Jonathan Borofsky, Alexander Calder, Jim Dine and others. In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, David Nash, George Rickey, Masayuki Koorida, Zhang Huan, Guiseppe Penone, among others.

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