Xanadu “Comes To Life” At The Morton Arboretum
Renowned Sculptor Names His Huge Creation Of Woven Wood
LISLE, IL (April 27, 2007) – In a remarkably beautiful setting of lush green trees, “Xanadu” rises tall.
Patrick Dougherty, the internationally-acclaimed artist who created a 23-foot tall, 35-foot wide sculpture of woven wood, today named his artwork “Xanadu” during the Arboretum’s annual Arbor Day celebration.
“Xanadu, and this sculpture, is a state of mind, a romanticism,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty revealed that youngsters’ laughter from the Children’s Garden just a short distance from the sculpture inspired him to create a somewhat maze-like shape, saying he thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a lot of places within where kids could go in and out and all around?”
The incredible sculpture, completed just yesterday in the Arboretum’s Pine Family Collection, is the largest he ever created, Dougherty said. It features portals and pathways, with twists and turns much like the twisted branches that form its walls. These pathways lead to an inner, central room that excites the imagination.
The sculpture brings “a sense of surprise – you can’t see where you’re going – but eventually, it leads to a central core that’s open and beautiful,” Dougherty explained today. This beauty, opulence and sense of wonder led the artist to the name: “Xanadu,” a mythical ancient Mongolian city whose name in modern times has come to symbolize beauty, luxury and contentment.
More than 100 volunteers worked in excess of 400 hours assisting Dougherty in creating the sculpture, which was fashioned from 15 species of saplings and branches. “Xanadu” is expected to remain standing for at least one year, and Dougherty believes it may last two years.
Earlier, Arboretum staff invited children to help in the ceremonial tree-planting involving a Swiss stone pine with long needles. Also, IKEA presented a $500 donation to the Arboretum.
Other events through Arbor Day weekend include an award-winning interactive exhibit called “The Plant” – which likens tree functions to the workings of a factory; the Plant Sale of 25,000 trees and plants, including many cutting-edge varieties; “Tree Detectives” in the Children’s Garden, where kids will play with “tree cookies” and learn about trees; parades through the Children’s Garden; guided walks; and the “Art In Nature” tram tour will focus on the beauty of the Arboretum’s tree collections.
The Arboretum is also participating in or providing literature to at least 75 communities for their Arbor Day celebrations.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,057 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier, Central Time. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) and 9:30 to 4 p.m. (CST). Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630-968-0074 to learn more.
Media Contact: Gina Tedesco, 630-725-2103,