The inaugural exhibitions will extend outdoors. Stefano Arienti has made a drawing to be installed on the Evan’s Way façade. Arienti, a Gardner Museum Artist-in-Residence in 2004, has been invited to produce the first work for the façade of the new wing, where architect Renzo Piano has designed a 36-foot-high by 16-foot-wide space for temporary art installations. Arienti has chosen to draw a bright red Ailanthus, also known as the Tree-of-Heaven, a fast-growing tree and a prolific seeder with an extensive root system. Hardy and profuse – it can sprout anywhere, including alleys, sidewalks, parking lots, and streets – the Ailanthus embodies strength and virulence. Here, against the backdrop of a stunning new building, it takes on an ironic playfulness about the unexpected forcefulness of new plantings.
Arienti will also produce a guest book called Libro Azzurro for the new Living Room orientation area in which visitors can log memories or anecdotes from their visit. Incorporating his own drawings, the book will invite visitors to contribute their own creativity and imaginative gestures to its pages. The entries will forever capture the opening year of the new wing.
Stefano Arienti: Ailanthus is made possible in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Gardner Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Stefano Arienti’s residency was made possible in part by the Nimoy Foundation and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.