Mel Ziegler: Growing Concern

Exhibition, Baile Park, 16 June 1998 to 8 November 1998

The front garden is a sign, a place both public and private, conveying the convictions and values of the households they frame. Growing Concern, a grass relief in Baile Park by American artist Mel Ziegler (b.1956), represents the North American obsession with the lawn. The artist considers the cultural obsession with the growth of our lawns to be symbolic of the taming and conquest of the North American wilderness, its subjection to the order of middle-class beliefs and values.

Commissioned by the CCA, the relief denotes the estimated number of blades of grass growing in the space — 325,293,680. The estimate is based on textbook standards for the type of grass, with the help of turf specialist Chris Simes of Spray Tech. The handwriting reproduced is that of Phyllis Lambert, Founding Director and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the CCA.

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