A park is a work of art, designed to produce certain effects upon the mind of men. There should be nothing in it absolutely nothing – not a foot of surface nor a spear of grass – which does not repesent study, design, a sagacious consideration & application of known laws of cause & effect with reference to that end.
- F.L. Olmsted, « Park Purposes », 1868
Olmsted at 200 is a distillation of photographic work by Geoffrey James of the parks, cemetaries and public spaces designed by pioneer American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. A journalist turned park superintendant, Olmsted transformed American cities and campuses in the 19th century, beginning with his hiring to oversee the construction of Central Park in New York City in 1857.
This exhibition is a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Olmsted. It is also a celebration of the life and work of Canadian photographer Geoffrey James who dedicated seven years to finding the beauty and decay in Olmsted parks in the 1990s.
Olmsted is central to North America, or to certain periods of it…There was an incredible energy in the building of these parks, an energy, a will to have them, which doesn’t exist anymore. And some of the means to do it, which also probably don’t exist anymore because the cities are too developed. The parks occurred at an absolutely strategic moment, and they were very important.
- Geoffrey James, 1995 interview with David Harris. from Viewing Olmsted
Olmsted at 200 A Photographic Retrospective by Photographer Geoffrey James is the inaugural exhibition in a new space at the Reford Gardens. The Grand Hall Desjardins, designed by Atelier Pierre Thibault with Marie-Hélène Nollet architect, will open during the summer of 2022. The launching will take place in the Desjardins area of the Great Hall on July 24 at 2pm.
Get your ticket here. Free event with the admission to the Gardens.
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