Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden
at the Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Eighth Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA), the largest municipal
museum in the Southeast, is located downtown in Birminghamís cultural
center. In 1993 the Museum underwent an extensive renovation/expansion
by Edward Larrabee Barnes. The Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden was
created at this time, designed by Barnes in close collaboration with artist
The 30,000 square foot Garden contains three uniquely different
spaces for the display of outdoor art: the upper plaza for monumental
sculpture, the lower gallery for temporary exhibitions, and the Red Mountain
Garden Area with a courtyard for the permanent collection. All of these
spaces are visually accessible one to the other, yet each is spatially
distinct. The Garden is under the supervision of Dr. David Moos, BMA Curator
of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts.
There are three distinct programs for the display of sculpture
in the Garden:
1. Permanent Collection
Sculpture from the Museumís permanent collection is exhibited
in the upper plaza (Doug Hollis, George Rickey, John Scott) and in the
courtyard of the Red Mountain Garden Area (Fernando Botero, Jacques Lipchitz,
Beverly Pepper, Auguste Rodin).
2. Site-Specific Installations
There are two site-specific artworks in the Garden: Lithos
II (1993) by Elyn Zimmerman, a monumental waterwall and pool of textured
granite, designed in a variety of colors and textures that recall in an
abstract way geological formations in Alabama. The waterwall is set in
the curved wall of the upper plaza.
The second installation is Blue Pools Courtyard (1993)
by Valerie Jaudon, two colorful pools, multiple plantings and brick paving
set beneath a central canopy of water oaks in the Red Mountain Garden
Area. The inlaid cut ceramic tile of the pools stems from Jaudonís elegant
One of the largest outdoor wall paintings by Sol Le Witt
will be completed in the Fall of 2000 for the Museum. This multi-colored
work will be created on the rear facade of the Museum building overlooking
the Sculpture Garden.
3. Temporary Exhibitions
The sunken gallery space in the middle of the garden is
designed for temporary exhibitions. The Museum invites sculptors from
all over the country and the world to come live and work in Birmingham,
using our active industrial sites and dormant foundries as their studios.
Often the resulting work is installed in this space before the eyes of
Museum visitors. These visiting sculptors have included John Scott, Zachary
Coffin, Saint Clair Cemin, Luis Jimenez, Peer Veneman, and Tina Haase,
Birgit Werres, and Enne Haehnle.
Temporary exhibitions inside the Museum are often augmented
with the artistís sculpture in this space outdoors.
The Birmingham Museum of Art has an outstanding permanent
collection of over 18,000 works of art dating from ancient to modern times.
Highlights include the finest collection of Wedgwood outside England,
the most comprehensive collection of Asian Art in the Southeast, and the
largest collection of eighteenth-century French paintings and decorative
arts in the Southeast.
Admission is free to the BMA, except for large blockbuster
exhibitions. Hours are 10-5 Tuesday through Saturday; 12-5 on Sunday;
and 10-9 the first Thursday of every month. The Museum is closed Mondays,
Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Yearís Day.
There are a wide array of programming events at the Museum
throughout the year. These include concerts, films, slide lectures, gallery
talks, and classes. Highlight Tours of the Museumís permanent collection
are offered Tuesday through Friday at 11:30 am and 12:30 pm. There are
also special docent-led tours of the collection and special exhibitions
every Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. Groups of eight or more may take
free guided tours by appointment, with three weeksí notice, based on availability.
Please call (205)254-2318.
The Hanson Library at the BMA is one of the finest art reference
libraries in the Southeast. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday
from 10-12 and 1-4.
A recorded message is available at (205)254-2565 or visitors
may learn more about the Museum at www.artsBMA.org