Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Xanadu, Kubla Khan and The Morton Arboretum

The current exhibit in the Sterling Morton Library, numerous Arboretum press releases and a general hubbub have all heralded the creation of an on-site woven wood sculpture by artist Patrick Dougherty. Completed and officially christened Xanadu at Friday’s Arbor Day celebration, the sculpture is a joy! I’ve treasured being able to observe the formation of this project on a daily basis, seeing/listening to others' reactions to the project and actually being able to help create it. I had the good fortune to spend a morning (a-fabulous-blue-sky-glorious-sunshine-type-of-morning) volunteering at the sculpture and helped “neatin’ it up!” I can’t take credit for the genesis and genius of this project, but I was delighted to have contributed to it. Yesterday as I was heading out for a walk, I dropped by Xanadu. I was instantly engaged by visitors’ action and reaction to it. In typical Louvre-fashion, some people stood back from the sculpture studying it from afar, others fluttered a little closer and still others dove right in! Before or after visiting Xanadu, be sure to stop by the Library to view the current exhibit. You’ll discover photographs of Dougherty’s other installations plus an exploration of four different landscape designers’ impact on the land. Make plans to visit Xanadu at The Morton Arboretum. You might even want to bring a copy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s namesake poem with you!

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree ;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery ...

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