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View a Sculpture Map of NCMA

The Museum’s outdoor sculpture collection with over 40 pieces by more than 30 sculptors, is located throughout its 145 acres of fields, woods, ponds, and formal gardens of the William Cullen Bryant Preserve. With sculpture created over the past 100 years, from 1913 to 2018, the collection is a unique opportunity to explore how sculptors respond to innovations in technology and materials, as well as to changing art styles.

As you look at the sculptures, we invite you to think about the decisions sculptors make: Is the sculpture welded, cast, carved or modelled?  Why do artists select certain materials – metal, stone, or wood? Notice the texture and color of each material. Some artists choose to work in the abstract while others are more figurative, some are attracted to organic forms, others to geometric.

Outdoor three dimensional sculpture encourages the viewer to move around it, noticing how it changes with different perspectives. Many of the more abstract sculptures are considered minimalist, works made of mass produced industrial materials (steel) in repeated geometric shapes.  Move not only around, but even through them, experiencing shape and space in new ways.  Enjoy not only the interaction of art and nature, but also the aging and weathering of sculpture sited outdoors. Changes in time of day of season – all these have an effect.

…a world in which sculptural form might come alive through the relationships it established, the spaces it created, the sensations it explored, the depths it plumbed.

– Barbara Hepworth on modern sculpture, 1937

Please help us preserve these remarkable artworks! Sculptures are more fragile than people realize. Steel is made from pieces welded together; the connections weaken and break when weight is applied . Bronze sculptures are hollow casts and are easily dented or scratched. We invite you to look, study, sketch, and take photographs, but ask that you please do not touch the works of art, or climb, stand, or lean against any of them. 


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