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American Society of Landscape Architects

 

June 2004 Issue

Memory Never Stands Still
Andy Goldsworthy's Garden of Stones is a living memorial to the Holocaust.

By Theodore Eisenman

Memory Never Stands Still
Photo by Tom Powell Imaging, Courtesy the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Memorials have become an important component of our response to tragedy, and few events have inspired as many memorials and discussions about the relationship between memory, place, and design as the Holocaust. With the September 2003 opening of Garden of Stones at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, New York, a Holocaust memorial expands the language of conventional memorial making. Created by environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy, Garden of Stones is a granite-walled roof garden defined by 18 boulders—a single dwarf chestnut oak (Quercus prinoides) sapling planted in the hollowed-out core of each rock. The interplay between massive boulders and fragile saplings is Goldsworthy's allegory for the strength and resilience of the Jewish people and of life itself.

Goldsworthy conceived the idea while staying in a hotel on Broadway. "My room was high up in the building," he recalls. "I looked out the window of my room, and I saw a tree that had seeded itself, growing out of the side of the building opposite. It was for me a potent image of nature's ability to grow even in the most difficult circumstances."

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