Arranging Leaves at the Setagaya Art Museum

his and her mosaic thrones

In the previous post, I wrote about a shot I took at the Setagaya Art Museum. Just the path to get to this museum is cool. It’s a pedestrian walkway lined with artificial streams and miniature bridges for kids to play around. There’s also lots of generous seating like the his and hers mosaic thrones above.

The museum itself is in a huge park that used to be a golf course. This suburban museum also has a nice blend of architectural elements, like the serpentine organicism of Gaudi, and the tight geometric texturing of Frank Lloyd Wright.  For more pictures click here.

British Artists

The special exhibit at the museum was an overview of British art called, Twelve Travels, and consisted of 12 British artists, ranging from the venerable JMW Turner to the trendy and always enjoyable David Hockney. Many of the works were done in Japan, so that was a loose unifying theme. There wasn’t much in the way of my favorite sculptor, Henry Moore, but there were many of his sketches which I’d never seen before.

Two other artists made strong impressions on me. The first was Anthony Green who painted whimsical scenes of suburban British life in distorted perspectives on unconventionally shaped canvasses. His paintings were colorful, detailed, and was satisfying like eye comfort food.  I couldn’t find the pieces that I saw at the museum.  But the painting below is quite representative of his style.


The other artist, now probably my favorite artist at the moment, is Andy Goldsworthy who grew up outside of Leeds. He uses natural found objects in the outdoors and arranges them, then takes photographs of the pieces at the moment light hits them perfectly. A movement called land art has arisen from his influence.  They are ‘installations’ in nature.  The pieces are ephemeral since they are made of natural materials and left to the

Wet autumn leaves are arranged by color gradient on rocks in streams. Or are woven together with twigs. Or the twigs are delicately constructed like a web. It’s the perfect art form, with the most beautiful, available and ecological of media, nature.


Here’s an interview with Andy Goldsworthy.

While searching for Goldsworthy pictures I came across another artist who practices land art. I really like his stuff as well.

And finally, here’s a clip from a BBC documentary about him. 

3 thoughts on “Arranging Leaves at the Setagaya Art Museum”

  1. Wind, I ‘discovered’ Andy Goldsworthy a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by his art. I especially like the Rowan leaves in a circle which you’ve shown next to the circle of stones. The colors are so bold, yet its ephemeral quality makes it so fragile.

    I also love Henry Moore. His drawings of sheep are sweet.

    The range of human expression is amazing isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your insights to those of us who don’t get out to museums as often as we’d like.

    1. his art is so simple. it reminds me of when as kids we naturally arranged material from nature. or at least me and my friends did. of course, goldsworthy takes it to another level.

  2. Yes I did the same as a kid 🙂 Pinecones were a favorite item to arrange. You’re right: Goldsworthy does take it to a different level. Maybe he never stopped looking at these natural items with the eyes of a child. Picasso said that all children are artists. When I do art work with my grandson I see how his approach is so pure and uncontrived compared to mine.

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