A Day in the Park

Art is Art wrench (2009) is 8 feet (2.4 metres).

Now and then, HTBS posts so-called non-rowing related articles on its website. Here is one of those articles. Last Saturday, HTBS editor Göran R Buckhorn and his family visited the landscape sculpture park at Hogpen Hill Farms in Connecticut. Göran reports:

One day a year, Hogpen Hill Farms in Woodbury, Connecticut, opens up its tree farm and landscape sculpture park for the public to visit. On the 234-acre farm 2,700 plants are growing in the ground, according to an information sheet which is handed out at the park. However, most of the visitors who come to walk on the farms’ fields on the ‘open day’ are there to see the artwork of Edward Tufte (unknown to me if there are any family ties to oarsman Olaf Tufte), who is a statistician and professor emeritus of political science, statistics and computer science at Yale University, and the owner of Hogpen Hill Farms.

Last Saturday 17 October, Hogpen Hill Farms had its fifth annual open day after having postponed its original June date, so Mrs B. thought a nice art excursion was in order for the family. I was all game, but our 10-year-old son was less enthusiastic to watch ‘boring paintings on a wall’. Our 14-year-old daughter blamed a heavy home-work load to be able to stay at home. So there were only three of us heading for the hills of central Connecticut.

The west pond at Hogpen Hill Farms.

This time of the year offers colourful scenes of New England’s rolling woodlands and it was such a pleasure to pass through beautiful small villages on our way to Woodbury. When we eventually left the road to get up to Hogpen Hill Farms, our car had to climb a narrow dirt road to get to the sculpture park. Hundreds of cars were in front of us, crawling, stopping, crawling and then stopping again for more than half an hour before we were on the top of the hill, where we could park our car and get out to stretch our legs.

By now, the warm sun that had followed us from Mystic was gone and gray clouds covered the sky. Being on a higher altitude than the Connecticut coast, the cold blustery winds made it really feel like an autumn day in Connecticut, actually the first one for us ‘shoreliners’.

On the other side of the bulldozer in the air is the peaceful bamboo maze.

The approximately 100 artworks by Tufte are located along a 1,5 mile vista. After passing the ‘bulldozer up in the air’, young master Buckhorn disappeared into a bamboo maze, with his father in tow. Although not large, the maze was such a peaceful place.

Spring Arcs (2004), 12 x 67 feet (3.7 x 20.4 metres).
Spring Arcs (2004), 12 x 67 feet (3.7 x 20.4 metres).



I have to confess that much of these abstract sculptures go beyond my head, but it does not mean that I am not fascinated by them. Our 10-year-old, who was relieved that his parents did not take him to an indoor art exhibit, thought the artworks were cool and ran from one sculpture to another (when he was not flat down on the ground rolling down the hills).

Rocket Science 3 (Airstream Interplanetary Explorer) was built in 2011; steel, aluminum, stainless steel, electronics, 84 feet (26 metres) long, 31 feet (9 metres) in height……..


….of course, to me it still looked like a flying toaster on wheels.


Rocket Science 2 (Lunar Lander), built in 2009, is of steel, aluminum and porcelain, 70 feet (21.3 metres) and 35 feet (10.7) up in the air.




For some years now, U.S. Homeland Security has had the slogan “If you see something, say something”, which has run in TV commercials over and over again, and with the most boring woman’s voice ever. Artist Edward Tufte is probably not mocking Homeland Security’s hard work with keeping America safe, instead he is hoping to get special attention with signs like the one in the picture, which asks the visitors in the sculpture park to ‘maintain the silence of the stones when the stones are within sight’.


Little Steel Horse



Heading for the north end of the fields to take a closer look at the stone mountains, or Connecticut’s own ‘Stonehenge’.




This aluminum casting of a fish is called Magritte’s Smile (2009), length 12 feet (3.7 metres).

For more information about the landscape sculpture park and Tufte’s artwork go here.

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