The Arts Beat: Art to Melt For

DeCordova's got a plan to house the mother of all snowballs.

Tony James, President of the global investment giant Blackstone Group, rolled up to the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln two years ago bearing a handsome gift — $1 million. James, who grew up in town (his dad was a museum trustee), said he’d give another $500,000, but only if the museum raised an additional $1 million on its own to acquire some big-name art. This month, that deal begins to bear fruit with the arrival of one of the world’s most revered sculptors.

From now until December 31, the DeCordova is presenting the work of Britain’s Andy Goldsworthy, using video and photographs to showcase his mysterious sculptures made from materials such as mud, leaves, and flowers. But that’s only the appetizer. Also on display will be Goldsworthy’s plans for his first site-specific installation in New England. Made from stacks of granite, the so-called Snow House slated for the DeCordova grounds is designed to enclose a monster snowball. The idea is that one 9-foot snowball will be made each winter and placed in Goldsworthy’s sculpture, where it will last all the way through spring and be unveiled with much fanfare in the summer. DeCordova executive director Dennis Kois hopes the exhibit of Goldsworthy’s current work will help raise funds for the snowball project. Cleverly, he’s leveraged one part of James’s fundraising challenge to meet the other.