To celebrate Hermann Park’s 100th birthday in 2014, Hermann Park Conservancy launched the Centennial Art Project, Art in the Park. Art in the Park was a series of contemporary art installations displayed over the Park's 445-acres throughout 2014 and beyond. One of several high profile initiatives to commemorate the centennial, Art in the Park presents a diverse array of public art experiences to Park visitors.
Art in the Park endeavors to mirror its site, a public park, by presenting open, accessible artworks that engage visitors on multiple levels. Guided by the unexpected delight of new discoveries and the child-like joy they can engender, the artworks were carefully selected and expertly sited to enhance the Hermann Park experience.
While two of the installations remain in Hermann Park, Trenton Doyle Hancock's Destination Mound Town and Sharon Engelstein's Dillidiidae, people miss art in Hermann Park.
As Houston’s reputation grows because of an expansive business climate, a reputation for medical leadership, a commitment to quality of life, a dedication to excellence in education and an arts environment where music, theatre, dance, the written word and fine arts institutions thrive, it is now essential to bring outstanding art to its premiere Park.
To meet this need,the Conservancy launched the Fund for Public Art in the spring of 2017, created to sustain the continuation of the highly acclaimed Centennial Art in the Park Program. The goal is to bring iconic presentations of contemporary art to Hermann Park on a rotating basis, delighting visitors and activating unexpected spaces.
To make a gift to support the Fund for Public Art in Hermann Park, please click here.
Destination Mound Town
Trenton Doyle Hancock (American, 1974)
Destination Mound Town, 2014
Vinyl, Mixed Media
Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock has transformed the interior walls of Hermann Park Railroad's train tunnel into a fantastical landscape populated with creatures both real and imagined. Destination Mound Town is a contribution to Hancock’s ongoing narrative in his artwork of the Mounds, a group of mythical half-animal, half-plant characters. Train passengers will be transported into a day in the life of the Mounds, beginning the journey as they arise in morning and exiting the tunnel as they settle in for the night. To view the installation, hop on the Hermann Park Railroad at Kinder Station, or at any of the remote stops, and keep your eyes open as you enter the tunnel. For hours and information on the Hermann Park Railroad, visit the Train information page.
The recipient of numerous awards, Hancock lives and works in Houston, where he was a 2002 Core Artist in Residence at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. His artwork can be found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art; Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Trento, Italy; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Hancock’s first retrospective exhibition will be on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston beginning in April 2014.
Please note: there is no safe pedestrian access into the train tunnel. The work is only visible by train.
Sharon Engelstein (Canadian, born 1965)
Foam, polymer concrete shell
Photo: Megan Badger Photography / Courtesy Weingarten Art Group
A former Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Core Fellow and a resident of Houston for many years, Sharon Engelstein is known for her organic, bubbly sculptural forms. In Hermann Park, a grand Mamadillidiida figure looms protectively over her wandering brood of smaller Dillidiidae. Though not immediately recognizable, the Dillidiidae are identical quadruplets. Curiously familiar, these tumbling forms invite interactivity, creating a game of delight and discovery.
The Dillidiidae are located on the grassy berm near the Buddy Carruth Playground for All Children and the intersection of Fannin and Cambridge Streets.
Boys Cry Too
Orly Genger (American, born 1979)
Boys Cry Too, 2009
Painted climbing rope
New York-based Orly Genger re-worked a previous piece for the Park’s new landscaping alongside Brays Bayou near the Bill Coats Bridge. An emerging talent, Genger has garnered attention for her large-scale constructions of brightly painted, knotted nautical rope. Spanning the genres of craft and fine art, Genger mines the intimate, domestic, and traditionally feminine practice of knitting to create sprawling, monumental installations. With the help of assistants, Genger looms, crochets, weaves, and knots heavy twine over the course of many months to create a single work.
The installation in Hermann Park, made of knotted climbing rope, sat on the banks of Brays Bayou on the Bayou Parkland side of Hermann Park between South MacGregor Way and Almeda. Measuring 225 feet long by 17 feet wide and painted in a wide range of colors including Eggnog, Springtime Bloom, Limeade, and many more, Boys Cry Too seemed to pop off of the Park's terrain.
Genger's work has recently been exhibited at Madison Square Park and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in New York, and has been included in numerous group and solo exhibitions. Upcoming installations include a work for The Contemporary Austin that will be sited at Laguna Gloria.
Boys Cry Too was on view through March 24, 2015.
Patrick Dougherty (American, born 1945)
Boogie Woogie, 2014
Patrick Dougherty, a North Carolina-based artist, is known for creating whirling quasi-architectural sculptures from locally-harvested saplings. In January 2014, Dougherty and a team of Hermann Park Conservancy volunteers constructed the site-specific installation Boogie Woogie in Hermann Park. Installation took place over a period of three weeks using 6 tons of harvested saplings -- mostly invasive Chinese tallow -- gathered from Generation Park, a master-planned enterprise development in northeast Houston. Volunteers worked under the close direction of the artist and his assistant throughout the project. The project required over 150 volunteers and more than 1,000 volunteer hours to complete. This piece was inspired by the nearby Hermann Park Japanese Garden and can be explored through the passageways of the “glyph maze” and the “walls” that make up the piece. Dougherty has completed over 230 works in his career with installations throughout the United States and around the world.
Boogie Woogie was on display through September 2015.
WIND SCULPTURE IV
Yinka Shonibare MBE
Wind Sculpture IV, 2013
Steel armature with hand painted fiberglass resin cast
240 x 134 x 31.5 inches
Over the past decade Yinka Shonibare MBE, a British-Nigerian artist living in London, has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and performance, Shonibare’s work examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity through sharp political commentary of the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories.
Wind Sculpture IV features a unique pattern inspired by textiles that European colonists produced based on Indonesian batik patterns and resold in Africa. Despite the fabric’s cultural origins, it is commonly mistaken as indigenously “African.” The monumental sculpture, nearly 20 feet tall and 11 feet at the widest point, suggests a swathe of Dutch wax cloth billowing in the wind and makes poetic reference to the integral role this natural force played in colonial expansion: “I’m fascinated by movement and dynamism. I aspire to capture a particular moment in each piece; my headless sculptural figures refer to the broader colonial period, while these Wind Sculptures conjure the tangible from the intangible – transforming the transience of a passing breeze into something fixed and monumental.”
Shonibare’s work is included in many prestigious collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; Museum of Modern Art, NY; San Francisco MoMA; MFA Boston; Tate, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis.
This sculpture was on display through early January, 2016.
Yvonne Domenge (Mexican, born 1946)
Wind Waves (Olas de Viento), 2009
Painted carbon steel
13 feet diameter
Recently introduced to American audiences, Mexican sculptor Yvonne Domenge is influenced by mathematics, physics, the natural world, and the traditional art of Mexico. Wind Waves is a Ferrari-red painted steel orb weighing close to 6 tons, and, like most of her work, draws on organic, curvilinear forms. Her work has been exhibited widely internationally, and was recently exhibited at Millennium Park in Chicago and in the Vancouver Biennale.
Wind Waves was on display in Hermann Park through January 2015.
Louise Bourgeois (French-American, 1911-2010)
Bronze 133 x 263 x 249 inches
From an edition of 6
Private Collection, Courtesy McClain Gallery
Louise Bourgeois, considered one of the most prominent female artists of the 20th century, explores her personal fears and life experiences through her artwork. Beginning in 1984 until her death in 2010, Bourgeois developed a rich body of work around the spider, from delicate works on paper to colossal installations. From a family of weavers, Bourgeois employs the spider as a maternal figure: looming, protective, and nurturing. Spider appeared to delicately float above the waters of the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool as she kept watch over the grounds of Hermann Park.
Spider was on loan to the Conservancy through August 1, 2014.
ReFRAME x FRAME
UH Design Build Collaborative
ReFRAME x FRAME
The University of Houston ReFRAME x FRAME micro pavilion was a collaboration between professors in the University of Houston Graduate Design/Build Studio in the College of Architecture, the Graphic Communications Program in the School of Art, and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. This project demonstrated principles of sustainable design and construction through the use of Allsteel frames which are commonly used as office cubicles. In this case, the Allsteel frames were used as a prototype for prefabricated deployable building systems that can be easily packed and shipped to use as tempory housing in disaster relief settings. The structure incorporated lighted elements on one exterior wall, solar panels for sunlight collection, a rain water collection system and water barrel, and an expandable floor plan to create space for storage, sleeping, showering, and working with the addition of optional walls. The steel frames from Allsteel office panel systems exceed the durability and strength of most residential framing systems, are cost effective, and versatile making these structures ideal for tremporary housing.
Within the structure, artist Abinadi Meza created a motion-triggered sound installation based on environmental data collected from Hermann Park. The "ambient/sonic/weather station" is a generative/interactive sound installation based on various data streams from the environment, such as air temperature, humidity, soil temperature, barometric pressure, animal and plant movements, and flowing waterways. These sounds emanate from the structure as bleeps, roars, whirrs, blips, hisses, cracks and shuffles, allowing visitors to focus on layers of information we don't normally hear, as ephemeral phenomena such as light or heat are generating the sounds. The sound installation was motion-activated.
This artwork was on display until October 2015.
Rice University Building Workshop
Quadrilateral ground plane containing integrated
benches and a tringular frame rotated above the base.
Hermann Park, Rice University, and The Texas Medical Center have shared a long neighboring relationship in Houston. Their paths come together at a small triangular site where the Rice Building Workshop proposes a pavilion in honor of the Park’s Centennial Celebration.
Situated within four existing trees, the pavilion is composed of a quadrilateral ground plane containing integrated benches and, rotated above the base, a triangular frame. The cast concrete benches for seating are engineered to act as foundation elements (taking the place of costly and invasive footings). The triangulated steel structure is designed to provide a rigid framework and to visually extend into the lower tree canopy. The infill of woven cord gives a sense of enclosure and operates as an ephemeral scrim to the larger site beyond.
The project as a whole offers a rich collaboration between Rice University School of Architecture and the Hermann Park Conservancy. Students in the Rice Building Workshop will have the opportunity to transform a design idea into a built project that will be enjoyed by the Houston community over the year-long installation at Hermann Park. After the installation, the building components can be re-assembled at a site on the Rice campus.
Gifts of $500 and above
as of March 15, 2014
The Brown Foundation, Inc.
Cece and Mack Fowler
Barbara and Michael Gamson
The Hearst Foundations
Bunny and Perry Radoff
Chinhui and Eddie Allen
Franci and Jim Crane
The Cullen Foundation
The John R. Eckel, Jr. Special Purpose Trust
Marita and J.B. Fairbanks
Linda and George Kelly
Sara and Bill Morgan
The Sarofim Foundation
Leslie and Shannon Sasser
Judy and Charles Tate
The Susan Vaughan Foundation, Inc.
Anchorage Foundation of Texas
Bank of America
Melanie Gray and Mark Wawro
Steppie and Robert Holsclaw
Houston Arts Alliance
City of Houston
Kathrine G. McGovern
Judy and Scott Nyquist
Ann and Don Short
Jan and Jack Cato
Sara Paschall Dodd
Cynthia and Ben Guill
Elizabeth and Albert Kidd
Rowan Companies, Inc.
Leigh and Reggie Smith
Cassie B. Stinson
Kate Criner Bellin and Andy Bellin
Kristen and David Buck
Liz and Steve Crowell
Susan and Mac Dunwoody
Guy Hagstette and Douglas Lawing
Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund
Karol Kreymer and Robert Card, M.D.
Margaret L. Kripke and Isaiah J. Fidler
Marc C. Melcher
Sandra and Kenneth Moffet
Terrylin G. Neale
Carol and David Neuberger
Winifred Kelsey Riser
Emily Leland Todd
Martha Turner Properties, Inc.
Special thanks: Audi Central Houston, Brochsteins, Generation Park, Houston Chronicle, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, United Airlines, Weingarten Art Group, and W.S. Bellows Construction