Austin, Texas, is known for its enthusiastic (some would say vehement) greenness, and these days, at least one arts organization is taking a strong eco-stance.
The Arthouse at the Jones Center is hosting “Fritz Haeg: Attack on the Front Lawn,” a multi-prong installation by the roving American artist/architect/green activist, which concludes with the planting of a community garden in Austin March 14-16.
A native of Minneapolis whose work made the cut for this year’s Whitney Biennial (begins March 6 in New York), Haeg has a heady but nature-driven approach that hails from “the intersection of art and social activism,” Arthouse says. His intention is to nurture collaborations between community organizations, art institutions, sustainable gardening advocates and the soil itself. And in the end, Haeg’s ultimate goal is to show how we can supplant those lush, oh-so-American lawns with what he calls edible estates.
He will demonstrate this by using two different venues in Austin: a low-income non-profit housing project and the Arthouse, a hip exhibition space located a few blocks down from the Capitol on Congress Avenue.
The housing development, Sierra Ridge, will be the site of “Prototype Garden #5,” as it’s called. This is Haeg’s latest garden-centric installation, and number five in his traveling “Edible Estates” series, which he began in 2005. Earlier plantation sites are in New Jersey, Kansas, California and London, England. When complete, the Edible Estates project will include nine garden sites in all.
Haeg’s Austin show is unique in that it combines those elements of hands-on responsible gardening with more esoteric, or just plain visual, elements that communicate Haeg’s overall vision.
Like other Edible Estates sites, Sierra Ridge’s “Prototype #5” will feature a vegetable garden, with focus on sustainable, local food production. Haeg and Arthouse curators hope to get the community involved in the two-day plantation, because even after Haeg’s art show has concluded, Sierra Ridge will have its own garden.