“Sculpture Garden” at Onderdonk House

Sarah Bednarek; A Piano Has the Same Mass, Plywood, paint

By Robert Egert
May 4 – June 3, 2012

Co-curators Leslie Heller and Deborah Brown have organized this year’s sculpture exhibit on the grounds of the historic Onderdonk House in Ridgewood/Bushwick. Sculpture Garden features 15 pieces by 13 Brooklyn-based artists, that are situated throughout the grounds and in the farmhouse.

Kai Vierstra, "Helft Boog, 2012" (Steel, wood bronze and plaster, 108” x 20” x 46”)

The Vanderende-Onderdonk house is an early eighteenth-century farmhouse located on the border between Ridgewood Queens and Bushwick Brooklyn. It could be something of a mascot for the emerging Ridgewood art scene: It’s a small jewel of green wedged between factories, heavy industry, and a warehouse-sized meat market. The house and its bucolic grounds are in a neighborhood that is otherwise completely devoid of trees and just a short walk from a festering canal. Arriving, the site appears like a mirage out of the mire.

This is the second year that the Onderdonk House has hosted a sculpture exhibit and this year’s is larger and more ambitious than the last. Heller and Brown began the selection process last summer and produced the exhibit without external funding making the show a testament not only to the diversity of talent in the Bushwick community but also to its energy and optimism.

From the main entrance, turn to your right to find MaryKate Mahers’ Mappings for Landscapes, reminiscent of a hangman’s scaffold with a large, menacing boulder precariously perched atop. Mahler’s piece evokes our darker historical associations with eighteenth century American history. The position immediately in front of the house’s main entrance suggests a threat and a reminder of the prevalence of domestic violence in our historical roots.

Reade Bryan’s assembly of copper plumbing pipes and fittings is perhaps a lighthearted attempt to connect the industrial infrastructure that dominates the neighborhood with the garden setting: Pipes emerge from the ground, forming a confused network that end with outlets and valves, as if revealing a mechanistic subterranean world.

Don’t miss Sarah Bednarek’s cut plywood piece, A Piano has the Same Mass, constructed in the language of a snap-together puzzle, or Kai Vierstra’s haunting Helft Boog, a piece that possesses qualities of a stream, a tree, and a sliding pond.

MaryKate Maher, "Mappings for Landscapes, 2012" (Concrete, wood, bronze and resin, 8’ x 4’ x 2’)

The Onderdonk House is open on Saturdays from 1-5pm and will be open during the following hours of BOS weekend:

Friday June 1: 3-7pm
Saturday June 2: 12-7pm
Sunday June 3: 12-5pm, closing reception 3-5 pm


  1. Brent Owens says

    The first sculpture pictured in this article is Sarah Bednarek’s “A Piano Has the Same Mass.” It’s made of plywood, not “cut metal.” Where’s that list of works again? I know I saw one around somewhere.