Fritz Haeg’s Agricultural Art

Artist and landscape designer Fritz Haeg, who is also author of Urban Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, has been busy since we last spoke to him at the 2010 ASLA annual meeting, with two new installations worth checking out. Haeg will soon be hosting an opening reception at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for his Domestic Realities installation, a part of the museum’s MoMA Studio: Common Senses project. He’s also been working with renowned landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations on a new project in the Everton park in Liverpool, UK.

Haeg tells us that Domestic Integrities is a survey of “local and seasonal patterns and rituals of interior domestic landscapes,” which explores “the way we use what we resourcefully find around us to artfully make ourselves at home.” 

The funky, organic feel of the circular garden installation has a nice contrast with MoMA’s sleek high-modern sculpture garden. The work was created in partnership with the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Brooklyn.

The tiny garden, which was planted this summer by a team of gardeners, offers “medicinals, herbals, edibles, and plants for pollinators” and has been cultivated throughout the season in preparation for this month’s launch.

Another linked component — a circular rug, which is called the Domestic Integrity Field — is set up indoors in partnership with Mildred’s Lane in Pennsylvania. There, Haeg will use elements harvested from the outdoor garden, such as “tea infusions, fresh bread, dried herbs, and flower arrangements,” presenting them on the “crocheted spiral rug of discarded textiles.”

The pieces are supposed to work in tandem. Vistors are expected to “explore the garden outside and make themselves at home on the rug inside, taking off shoes to sit down, inspect, touch, taste, and smell that day’s various Domestic Integrities.” Haeg talks more about his rug installation on MoMA’s blog: “Proprietress J. Morgan Puett donated antique linens, which we cut into strips and crocheted into a 6-foot-diameter circle that will gather more rings as it travels. By the time it arrives at MoMA in the fall, it will hopefully be around 20 feet in diameter, and large enough to serve as a welcoming domestic landscape.”

Another one of Haeg’s recent projects in the UK is also worth checking out. For the Liverpool Biennial, Haeg partnered with James Corner Field Operations to create Foraging Spiral at the Everton Park. James Corner, ASLA, and his team are now working on a new master plan for the park.

The project takes the “elevated central site of the bowl-shaped hollow,” which was previously occupied by a small wheel manufacturer, and creates a set of interesting outdoor happenings. “The project includes an a one-day archeological dig, the planting of a wild edible spiraling garden, a temporary basecamp headquarters for a series conversations about the park’s past and future, a printed journal that reports on the gathering, and a video that tells the story of the park from multiple points of view.” The idea was to “treating the hollow as a microcosm of the entire park, a series experiments is presented to publicly present the range of activities and features the local community would like to see in their park.”

First, there was a day-long archeological dig, which uncovered the facade of an old church buried there. Then remnants of the church were used to build out the next piece, the Foraging Spiral. Haeg describes this project: “Existing grass within the entire area bounded by the circular overlook drive in the center of the park to grow and gradually turn into a tall wild meadow, into which paths are mown which follow the crest of the bowl and down into the center. A 6 foot wide by 450 foot long bed of wild, native, and edible plantings (with local partners Squash Nutrition, The National Wildflower Centre, and the Everton Park horticulturist) lined with excavated brick from the archeology dig, was [then] established.” The new spiral garden includes an amazing variety of different fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

See more images of Domestic Realities and Foraging Spiral.

Image credit: Fritz Haeg

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