Sunday, 7 February 2010

That gardens vs art debate - again

It's been a good gardening week, though not in the outdoor, productive sense. The Vista lectures resumed their first Tuesday of the month slot at the Garden Museum. It's always a good chance to talk gardens with designers and writers and eat some great food. This month, Tim Richardson and Noel Kingsbury quizzed artists Kate Whiteford and Julia Barton. They discussed how they used landscape, plants and irrigation as another creative medium. But although what they do is manipulation of natural elements in the landscape, they still label themselves firmly as Artists (note capital A). I really like their work, particularly Kate's chippendale sofa set into a Capability Brown landscape like those great chalk figures on west country hillsides. But it makes me wonder at the gulf between landscape design and Art. Kate and Julia suggested that because their work is temporary and deteriorates over time, that makes it Art, not gardening. So if garden and landscape designers don't call themselves Artists is it just because their work aspires to be more permanent? Surely all gardens are ephemeral and change over time? So surely all gardeners are Artists. Just a thought.


  1. Hi Camilla, welcome to the blogosphere - I think you'll find blogging a lot of fun. I may be in the minority, but I am so weary of the gardens vs art debate, which some of our esteemed colleagues wish to perpetuate ad infinitum, that I can't even bring myself to comment about it.

  2. Hey Martyn, good to bump into you the other day in the real world. Will come and see your garden this year - bet it's effortlessly artistic...

  3. Hi Camilla,
    Interesting thoughts on the gardens vs art. Thanks for introducing me to Kate Whiteford's and Julia Barton's work.