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Vol. 30 (2011) through current issue
The mission of landscape architecture is supported by research and theory in many fields. Landscape Journal offers in-depth exploration of ideas and challenges that are central to contemporary design, planning, and teaching. Besides scholarly features, Landscape Journal also includes editorial columns, creative work, reviews of books, conferences, technology, and exhibitions Landscape Journal digs deeper into the field by providing articles from:
State Parks and Jim Crow in the American South
During the 1930s, the state park movement and the National Park Service expanded public access to scenic American places, especially during the era of the New Deal. However, under severe Jim Crow restrictions in the South, African Americans were routinely and officially denied entrance to these supposedly shared sites. In response, advocacy groups pressured the National Park Service to provide some facilities for African Americans. William O’Brien shows that these parks were typically substandard in relation to “whites only” areas. As the NAACP filed federal lawsuits that demanded park integration and increased pressure on park officials, southern park agencies reacted with attempts to expand segregated facilities, hoping they could demonstrate that these parks achieved the “separate but equal” standard. But the courts consistently ruled in favor of integration, leading to the end of segregated state parks by the middle of the 1960s. Even though the stories behind these largely inferior facilities faded from public awareness, the imprint of segregated state park design remains visible throughout the South. O’Brien illuminates this untold facet of Jim Crow history in the first-ever study of segregation in southern state parks. His new book underscores the profound inequality that persisted for decades in the number, size, and quality of state parks provided for black visitors in the Jim Crow South.
A Landscape Critic in the Gilded Age
Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer (1851–1934) was one of the premier figures in landscape writing and design at the turn of the twentieth century, a moment when the amateur pursuit of gardening and the increasingly professionalized landscape design field were beginning to diverge. This intellectual biography—the first in-depth study of the versatile critic and author—reveals Van Rensselaer’s vital role in this moment in the history of landscape architecture.
Van Rensselaer was one of the new breed of American art and architecture critics, closely examining the nature of her profession and bringing a disciplined scholarship to the craft. She considered herself a professional, leading the effort among women in the Gilded Age to claim the titles of artist, architect, critic, historian, and journalist. Thanks to the resources of her wealthy mercantile family, she had been given a sophisticated European education almost unheard of for a woman of her time. Her close relationship with Frederick Law Olmsted influenced her ideas on landscape gardening, and her interest in botany and geology shaped the ideas upon which her philosophy and art criticism were based. She also studied the works of Charles Darwin, Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau, and many other nineteenth-century scientists and nature writers, which influenced her general belief in the relationship between science and the imagination.
Her cosmopolitan education and elevated social status gave her, much like her contemporary Edith Wharton, access to the homes and gardens of the upper classes. This allowed her to mingle with authors, artists, and affluent patrons of the arts and enabled her to write with familiarity about architecture and landscape design. Identifying over 330 previously unattributed editorials and unsigned articles authored by Van Rensselaer in the influential journal Garden and Forest—for which she was the sole female editorial voice—Judith Major offers insight into her ideas about the importance of botanical nomenclature, the similarities between landscape gardening and idealist painting, design in nature, and many other significant topics. Major’s critical examination of Van Rensselaer’s life and writings—which also includes selections from her correspondence—details not only her influential role in the creation of landscape architecture as a discipline but also her contribution to a broader public understanding of the arts in America.
The Grotesque and the Gigantic in Renaissance Landscape Design
Monsters, grotesque creatures, and giants were frequently depicted in Italian Renaissance landscape design, yet they have rarely been studied. Their ubiquity indicates that gardens of the period conveyed darker, more disturbing themes than has been acknowledged.
In The Monster in the Garden, Luke Morgan argues that the monster is a key figure in Renaissance culture. Monsters were ciphers for contemporary anxieties about normative social life and identity. Drawing on sixteenth-century medical, legal, and scientific texts, as well as recent scholarship on monstrosity, abnormality, and difference in early modern Europe, he considers the garden within a broader framework of inquiry. Developing a new conceptual model of Renaissance landscape design, Morgan argues that the presence of monsters was not incidental but an essential feature of the experience of gardens.
In this volume Robert E. Grese gathers together writings on nature-based landscape design and conservation by some of the country’s most significant practitioners, horticulturalists, botanists, and conservationists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Written with a strong conservation ethic, these essays often originally appeared in obscure, short-lived publications and are difficult to locate today, comprising a rich but hidden literature. Over many years of pioneering research into the work of Jens Jensen, O. C. Simonds, and other early landscape architects who advocated for the use of native plants and conservation, Grese encountered and began collecting these pieces. With this volume, he offers readers his trove. Purposely avoiding literature that is widely available, Grese shares as well his experience of discovery. His introduction provides perspective on the context of these writings and the principles they espouse, and his conclusion illuminates their relevance today with the emerging emphasis on sustainable design. This collection will appeal to general readers interested in the issues of sustainability, horticulture and gardening, and landscape design and preservation, as well as to historians, practitioners, and specialists.
Paula Deitz has delighted readers for more than thirty years with her vivid descriptions of both famous and hidden landscapes. Her writings allow readers to share in the experience of her extensive travels, from the waterways of Britain's Castle Howard to the Japanese gardens of Kyoto, and home again to New York City's Central Park. Collected for the first time, the essays in Of Gardens record her great adventure of continual discovery, not only of the artful beauty of individual gardens but also of the intellectual and historical threads that weave them into patterns of civilization, from the modest garden for family subsistence to major urban developments. Deitz's essays describe how people, over many centuries and in many lands, have expressed their originality by devoting themselves to cultivation and conservation.
During a visit to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor, Maine, Deitz first came to appreciate the notion that landscape architecture can be as intricately conceived as any major structure and is, indeed, the means by which we redeem the natural environment through design. Years later, as she wandered through the gardens of Versailles, she realized that because gardens give structure without confinement, they encourage a liberation of movement and thought. In Of Gardens, we follow Deitz down paths of revelation, viewing "A Bouquet of British Parks: Liverpool, Edinburgh, and London"; the parks and promenades of Jerusalem; the Moonlight Garden of the Taj Mahal; a Tuscan-style villa in southern California; and the rooftop garden at Tokyo's Mori Center, among many other sites.
Deitz covers individual landscape architects and designers, including André Le Nôtre, Frederick Law Olmsted, Beatrix Farrand, Russell Page, and Michael Van Valkenburgh. She then features an array of parks, public places, and gardens before turning her attention to the burgeoning business of flower shows. The volume concludes with a memorable poetic epilogue entitled "A Winter Garden of Yellow."
The Imperial Garden Yuanming Yuan
Noted for its magnificent architecture and extraordinary history, the Yuanming Yuan is China's most famous imperial garden. The complex was begun in the early eighteenth century, and construction continued over the next 150 years. While Chinese historians, and many Chinese in general, view the garden as the paramount achievement of Chinese architecture and landscape design, almost nothing is known about the Yuanming Yuan in the West. A Paradise Lost is the first comprehensive study of the palatial garden complex in a Western language. Written in a broad and engaging style, Young-tsu Wong brings "the garden of perfect brightness" to life as he leads readers on a grand tour of its architecture and history. Wong begins by inspecting the garden's physical appearance and its architectural elements. He discusses the origin and evolution of these structures and the aesthetics of their design and arrangement. Throughout he refers to maps and original models of individual buildings and other existing gardens of the Ming-Qing period, including the well-preserved Yihe Yuan and the Chengde Summer Mountain Retreat in Rehe. A special feature of the book is its exploration of the activities and daily life of the royal household.
The Singing Crane Garden in northwest Beijing has a history dense with classical artistic vision, educational experimentation, political struggle, and tragic suffering. Built by the Manchu prince Mianyu in the mid-nineteenth century, the garden was intended to serve as a refuge from the clutter of daily life near the Forbidden City. In 1860, during the Anglo-French war in China, the garden was destroyed. One hundred years later, in the 1960s, the garden served as the "ox pens," where dissident university professors were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. Peaceful Western involvement began in 1986, when ground was broken for the Arthur Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology. Completed in 1993, the museum and the Jillian Sackler Sculpture Garden stand on the same grounds today.
In Place and Memory in the Singing Crane Garden, Vera Schwarcz gives voice to this richly layered corner of China's cultural landscape. Drawing upon a range of sources from poetry to painting, Schwarcz retells the garden's complex history in her own poetic and personal voice. In her exploration of cultural survival, trauma, memory, and place, she reveals how the garden becomes a vehicle for reflection about history and language.
Encyclopedic in conception and artistic in execution, Place and Memory in the Singing Crane Garden is a powerful work that shows how memory and ruins can revive the spirit of individuals and cultures alike.
Summers at the Vauxhall pleasure garden in London brought diverse entertainments to a diverse public. Picturesque walks and arbors offered a pastoral retreat from the city, while at the same time the garden's attractions indulged distinctly urban tastes for fashion, novelty, and sociability. High- and low-born alike were free to walk the paths; the proximity to strangers and the danger of dark walks were as thrilling to visitors as the fountains and fireworks. Vauxhall was the venue that made the careers of composers, inspired novelists, and showcased the work of artists. Scoundrels, sudden downpours, and extortionate ham prices notwithstanding, Vauxhall became a must-see destination for both Londoners and tourists. Before long, there were Vauxhalls across Britain and America, from York to New York, Norwich to New Orleans.
This edited volume provides the first book-length study of the attractions and interactions of the pleasure garden, from the opening of Vauxhall in the seventeenth century to the amusement parks of the early twentieth. Nine essays explore the mutual influences of human behavior and design: landscape, painting, sculpture, and even transient elements such as lighting and music tacitly informed visitors how to move within the space, what to wear, how to behave, and where they might transgress. The Pleasure Garden, from Vauxhall to Coney Island draws together the work of musicologists, art historians, and scholars of urban studies and landscape design to unfold a cultural history of pleasure gardens, from the entertainments they offered to the anxieties of social difference they provoked.
Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities
How do landscapes—defined in the broadest sense to incorporate the physical contours of the built environment, the aesthetics of form, and the imaginative reflections of spatial representations—contribute to the making of politics? Shifting through the archaeological, epigraphic, and artistic remains of early complex societies, this provocative and far-reaching book is the first systematic attempt to explain the links between spatial organization and politics from an anthropological point of view.
The Classic-period Maya, the kingdom of Urartu, and the cities of early southern Mesopotamia provide the focal points for this multidimensional account of human polities. Are the cities and villages in which we live and work, the lands that are woven into our senses of cultural and personal identity, and the national territories we occupy merely stages on which historical processes and political rituals are enacted? Or do the forms of buildings and streets, the evocative sensibilities of architecture and vista, the aesthetics of place conjured in art and media constitute political landscapes—broad sets of spatial practices critical to the formation, operation, and overthrow of polities, regimes, and institutions? Smith brings together contemporary theoretical developments from geography and social theory with anthropological perspectives and archaeological data to pursue these questions.