deCordova’s turrets, the most prominent architectural features of the Museum’s Dewey Gallery, elicit childhood memories of Rapunzel’s fairy tale castle or recall the battle-ready fortifications in Game of Thrones and other medieval-era revivals (Fig. ). Set atop a hillside in Lincoln, MA, the forms seem almost comically out of place and inconsistent with the nearby rustic farms and the tucked-away modernist enclaves, like the Gropius House. The turrets’ very “extra-ness” attracted New York-based artist Leeza Meksin on a site visit to the Sculpture Park in 2017. Initially thinking she would create a new outdoor commission that would involve draping the museum building with fabric—a type of project she had previously staged—she decided on a totally new enterprise: to bring deCordova’s turrets down to earth by creating two conical replicas in the Park, maintaining their precise scale and paired distance.
Meksin’s sculptural recreations, titled Turret Tops, stand in the Sculpture Park, hovering just slightly over the ground and capped by copper-green finials (Fig. or COVER). Instead of slate shingles, her turrets are vibrant hues of maroon, gold, and neon pink neoprene fabric that encompass custom-designed metal frames that are the dimension and curved shape of the Museum’s turrets. However, if one isn’t aware of this reference, it would be easy to think the works are based on tee-pees or carnival tents, or resemble extremely large wrapped presents. Their open-ended, pleasurable appearance is a deliberate bait and switch meant to entice the body and mind. With their oversized scale and outrageous colors, we are immediately drawn to these towering entities and bask inside their light-soaked interiors. Yet eventually they lead us to wonder why the artist has gone such a distance? Why turrets? Why neoprene?
PLATFORM 25 was generously funded in part by the Coby Foundation and Columbia University Provost Grant for Junior Faculty. Special thanks to Show Shop and Bent Productions for their design, fabrication and installation work.
PLATFORM is a series of one-person commissioned projects by early- and mid-career artists from New England, national, and international art communities that engage with deCordova’s unique landscape. The PLATFORM series lets artists expand their practice and visitors experience new approaches to contemporary sculpture and public art.