Beginning this spring at its annual Daffodil and Tulip Festival on April 22, The Trustees will present ViewEscapes, a curated exhibition featuring the life and work of sculptor, George Warren Rickey (1907-2002) at Naumkeag, a historic Gilded Age Berkshires homestead located in Stockbridge, MA. The exhibition, coordinated in partnership with the George Rickey Foundation and George Rickey Estate, LLC, is one of the largest exhibitions of Rickey’s work at Naumkeag and in the Northeast in 40 years. It is on view April 22 to November 1, 2022.
ViewEscapes will feature 12 of Rickey’s large-scale outdoor sculptures installed throughout Naumkeag’s public gardens, as well as six sculptures and three works of art inside the historic house museum including One Line Horizontal Floating, 1994 which was also part of the exhibition Sculpture at Naumkeag (1994). The exhibition will explore Rickey’s life, design process, and artistic intent, highlighting works spanning from the 1950s as Rickey was gaining prominence and up to the 1990s at the end of his long and prolific career. ViewEscapes follows a national exhibition of Rickey’s large-scale sculptures currently on display along Park Avenue and the High Line in New York City through April 2022.
George Rickey was an artist who devoted himself to the study of motion in sculpture. Considered one of the most accomplished sculptors of his era, he was fascinated by the interaction of his work with nature and the surrounding environment. His abstract geometric forms made of stainless steel, polished metal, and painted surfaces were designed to respond to the natural elements of wind and light, creating infinite shapes that move gracefully through space as they spin, spiral, gyrate, and turn.
“This is a rare and exciting opportunity to experience the brilliance of Rickey’s dynamic art within the architectural context, natural setting, and scenic beauty of Naumkeag,” says Mark Wilson, Trustees Associate Curator. “The consistent breeze on the hilltop will help set the outdoor sculptures into motion and provide an ideal setting to showcase his incredible work.”
Naumkeag is the former home of the prominent Choate family from New York City, who were passionate about art, nature, gardens, and travel and bequeathed the property in 1959 to The Trustees to preserve and share for public use and enjoyment. Now a National Historic Landmark and one of The Trustees’ most visited properties, Naumkeag features a historic homestead designed by one of the country’s most preeminent architectural firms, McKim, Mead & White, and public gardens designed by America’s leading modern landscape architect, Fletcher Steele.
“We are honored to showcase George Rickey’s work throughout Naumkeag’s interior and exterior spaces, which are masterful works of art and architectural design in themselves,” adds Brian Cruey, Trustees Southern Berkshires Property Director who oversees management and programming at Naumkeag. “We look forward to hosting programs, lectures, and tours starting this spring that will allow visitors to experience Rickey’s contributions to the art world in an iconic setting.”
Rickey’s home and studio, where he created most of his work, was located just 30 miles from Naumkeag in East Chatham, NY. The artist had local family ties to the Berkshires through his paternal grandfather, a clockmaker from Athol, MA, as well as his great grandparents who lived in Salisbury, CT.
The Trustees has featured art installations and exhibitions at its art museums, historic houses, parks, gardens, and beaches around Massachusetts for many years, including launching Art & the Landscape, a contemporary series established in 2016 to create inspiring art installations and experiences at signature properties. The nonprofit maintains thousands of works of art, sculpture, and artifacts in its permanent collection, many of which are stored and held at its Archives & Research Center and used for research and special curated exhibitions, and many others on display in historic homesteads around the state.
The Trustees acquired Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Mass., in 2016 and the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum in Lincoln, in 2019, both of which feature exhibitions with contemporary guest artists as well as those drawn from the museum and organization’s permanent collections. The deCordova is currently featuring renowned indigenous artist Jeffrey Gibson’s INFINITE INDIGENOUS QUEER LOVE, while visitors to Fruitlands can enjoy Unseen Hours. This spring, the two museums are combining efforts to showcase 25 artists from all over New England as part of the New England Triennial and The Trustees will feature Rose B. Simpson as the next artist in its Art & the Landscape series.