As the Summergarden program grew and developed over the decades, formal partnerships with The Juilliard School (since 1987) and Jazz at Lincoln Center (since 2005) now bring us premieres of new music in a range of styles. We hope that many of you will be able to “take a breather” and join us in the Sculpture Garden this summer or for the final
“A mere glimpse restores my sagging soul,” wrote Lillian Gerard, Special Projects Coordinator at MoMA, of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in a letter to Richard Shepard at The New York Times in 1975. She went on to describe it as “as a meeting place for young lovers, senior citizens, jumping children, foreign travelers, and out-of-towners” and in particular singled out “…its evenings with performers as ardent and free as the trees and the sculpture that thrive in this oasis of fountains and pools, with the sky above and cement below.”
This personal and informal portrait of the Sculpture Garden, rings just as true to me today as I look out over the urban retreat that remains at the heart of the Museum. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the beginning of Summergarden, which started in May 1971 as a program of free weekend evenings in the Sculpture Garden with occasional entertainment including folk singing, chamber music, dance performances, and acrobatics.
Summergarden launched with much fanfare during a preview party on May 10, 1971. In the proposal for the program, then-director of MoMA’s press office, Elizabeth Shaw, wrote that the entertainment “should be casual, intermittent and not overwhelm or interfere with