Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx

September 24th, 2008 Posted in Front Page News

Contact: Martha Gellens 718.549.3200 x232 or

Wave Hill, Lehman College Art Gallery and the Bronx River Art Center Present a Joint Exhibition Spotlighting Nature in the Bronx

Bronx, NY, July 15, 2008–Wave Hill, Lehman College Art Gallery and the Bronx River Art Center collaborate this autumn to present Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx, a photography exhibition that explores natural spaces as an essential element in the fabric of the Bronx. In the face of recent, rapid urban development throughout New York City, these photographs locate the open and green spaces that have long anchored the landscape of the Bronx.

In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, the Bronx became synonymous with urban decay and pollution. In fact, however, almost 25% of the borough is park land — a remarkably high percentage for any county in the United States. Surprisingly Natural demonstrates the wide range of the borough’s natural areas and the approaches to photographing these big and small spaces that are tended by its residents, including community and school gardens, playgrounds, window boxes and tree pits. Photographers also document the forests, wetlands and beach habitats of Van Cortlandt Park and Pelham Bay Park, where nature grows wild and unchecked. Nature’s tenacity is also depicted in images of unexpected green spaces – empty lots, community gardens and abandoned lots – where natural life thrives despite the challenge of urban conditions.

The exhibition will be on view concurrently in three vibrant neighborhoods with inspiring natural spaces: Wave Hill’s Glyndor Gallery in Riverdale, Lehman College Art Gallery in the Northwest Bronx and the Bronx River Art Center in West Farms.

An exhibition catalogue is being produced, introduced by naturalist and author Leslie Day and including essays by curators Jennifer McGregor, Susan Hoeltzel and José Ruiz.

Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx

Wave Hill, September 9–November 30, with artists Lawrence Beck, Steven Day, N.W. Gibbons, David Gillison & Bob Schneider, Todd Martin, Leah Oates, Christine Osinski, Patrick Perry, Eric Slayton, Ron Terner

Lehman College Art Gallery, September 9–December 15, with artists Daniel Hauben, Lawrence Lederman, Margaret Moulton, Travis Roozée, Robert Stephenson, Rebecca Swanson

Bronx River Art Center, September 12–October 18, 2008, with artists Mac Carbonell & Luke Stettner, Jason Falchook, Bettina Johae, Holly Lynton, Laura Napier, Katherine Radke, Yumi Janairo Roth, Benjamin Swett

Exhibition Receptions
• Friday, September 12, 6–9pm, Bronx River Art Center
• Sunday, September 14, 1–4pm, Wave Hill
• Tuesday, October 7 and October 14, 6–7:30pm, Lehman College Art Gallery

Art and Nature Tour: The Nature of the Bronx–Trolley Tour Saturday, October 18, 11AM–3PM
Bronx Culture Trolley transports participants from Wave Hill to Lehman College Art Gallery and the Bronx River Art Center, to meet artists and curators. Stop at Van Cortlandt Park, where naturalist and author Leslie Day highlights the diversity of the borough’s natural landscape. Wave Hill gratefully acknowledges Bronx Tourism Council’s sponsorship of this event. Bring lunch or purchase a box-lunch. Limited registration. $25 Member; $35 Non-member. Registration required; call 718.549.3200 x305. Meet at Wave Hill’s Glyndor Gallery.

Exhibition Tours at Wave Hill
Thursdays, 12pm | Saturdays, 2:15pm

Exhibition-related Public Programs

Friday, September 12, 19, 26, October 17, 24, 31, 10am–1pm Art Workshop: Nature Photography Series:
Benjamin Swett teaches creative techniques through outdoor shooting assignments at Wave Hill. 6-session fee: $105 Member; $135 Non-member. Single session fee: $20 Member; $30 Non-member. Registration required; call 718.549.3200 x305. Meets at Wave Hill.

Saturday, Sunday, October 4, 5 3:30pm Photographer Talks: Photographers exhibiting in Surprisingly Natural talk about their approaches to photographing the nature of the borough. Meets at Wave Hill.

Thursday, October 16, 12:15–1:30pm Artists from the exhibition will talk about their work as part of the City and the Humanities Series. Free of charge. Meets at Lehman College Art Gallery.

Wave Hill 675 West 252nd St. Bronx, NY 10471 718.549.3200
A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscapes, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.
GALLERY HOURS Tuesday–Sunday 10am–4:30pm
ADMISSION Tuesday and Saturday mornings: Free 9am to noon
Free all day Tuesday in November and December
Wednesday–Sunday and Saturday afternoons: $6 adults, $3 students
and seniors 65+, $2 children 6+. Free to Members, and children under 6
Parking $8 onsite, limited availability. Free offsite parking with shuttle service.
Free shuttle service to and from Metro-North Riverdale station and terminus of IRT #1 subway line. for pick-up and drop-off schedule

Bronx River Art Center 1087 East Tremont Ave. Bronx, NY 10460 718.589.5819
Bronx River Art Center is a multi-arts organization located in a 16,000 square foot, four-story warehouse building that houses Exhibition, Artist Studio and Education Programs. Issues in contemporary art and the social interests of an intercultural community form the foundation of the Exhibitions Program, which offers artists and curators a nexus to present challenging and provocative ideas to a broad range of constituents.
GALLERY HOURS Monday–Friday 3pm–6:30pm
Saturday 12pm–5pm

Lehman College Art Gallery Bedford Park Blvd. West Bronx, NY 10468-1589 718.960.8731
Lehman College Art Gallery is a center for contemporary visual arts and arts education housed in a building designed by the renowned architect Marcel Breuer. The gallery is located on the tree-lined campus of Lehman College, City University of New York.
GALLERY HOURS Tuesday–Saturday 10am–4pm

Surprisingly Natural: the Nature of the Bronx is made possible, in part, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Target and the New York State Council on the Arts–a state agency. Sustaining support for Wave Hill is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


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