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Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden

Charles W. Ireland Sculpture Garden
at the Birmingham Museum of Art
2000 Eighth Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Tel: (205)254-2565
Fax: (205)254-2714

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 Elyn Zimmerman.

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 geometric paintings.

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


Valerie Jaudon
Auguste Rodin



Auguste Rodin



Valerie Jaudon



Beverly Pepper



George Rickey



Elyn Zimmerman



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