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Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
October 7, 2004

"Dialogue in a Landscape: The Kraus Campo, A Garden for Carnegie Mellon University" Exhibition Opens at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery

PITTSBURGH—"Dialogue in a Landscape: The Kraus Campo, A Garden for Carnegie Mellon University" is an exhibition of drawings, plans and models created by artist Mel Bochner, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh and his staff, showing the development of the design for the new garden, the "Kraus Campo." The exhibition opens at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery this Friday, October 8, and runs through December 12, 2004. The open public reception will take place with the College of Fine Arts alumni reception, homecoming weekend, 5-8 p.m. Friday, October 15.

The result of a collaboration between Bochner and Van Valkenburgh, the Kraus Campo has been conceived as a single integrated work combining art and landscape design. Rare among projects of this kind, it challenges the very definition of a garden: it is both garden-as-sculpture and sculpture-as-garden.

On the first floor of the exhibition, some of the early provocative ideas that did not make their way into the final Campo scheme are displayed — not realized because the designers' concepts evolved or technical considerations prevented their inclusion. The exhibition also then illustrates the development of components of the Campo's final design, showing the difficult process of design refinement to get each element just right.

The exhibition also features large-scale prints of Van Valkenburgh's projects at other venues. These huge images, some as large as 9' by 19' are meant to invite viewers "into" the landscapes.

A new text work by Bochner, related to the Campo, will also be presented on the gallery's third floor. The installation refers to the 6 by 58-foot-long, tiled quotation on the Posner Hall wall from the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In the garden the words of the quotation have been transcribed in reverse order, while in the gallery the letters have been transcribed in reverse order.

"I want these pieces to delay the viewers' comprehension, stop them in their tracks for a minute. In a sense, they require deciphering that reveals "reading" as more problematic than it is usually taken to be. The viewer experiences momentary illiteracy, making the act of reading strange again," said Bochner.

The Kraus Campo itself is located between the College of Fine Arts building and the Tepper School of Business. The area offers a meeting place symbolic of Carnegie Mellon's multidisciplinary philosophy. Along the meandering paths of the garden and upon its central platform, students and faculty can relax at this communal crossroads of the arts, business, science and humanities.

At the heart of the garden sits the Campo, a 25 by 60 by 3-foot, tile-covered sculptural platform based on the shape of a French curve, a tool common to artists, architects and engineers alike. Black numbers imbedded in white tiles that cover the platform are indicative of the numerical sequencing patterns in much of Bochner's art.

Bright orange pathways swing out from the center platform winding through drifting mounds of evergreen boxwoods, brightly flowered azaleas and semi-dwarf red level Japanese barberry. The designers chose these plantings for their visual qualities, hardiness and compatibility with the four seasons of western Pennsylvania. The composition of the plantings provides a counterpoint of colors and shapes that offer a different character in each of the four seasons.

Jill Gansman Kraus (A'74) and Peter Kraus of New York City have commissioned the garden. Jill Gansman Kraus is a Carnegie Mellon trustee who is dedicated to advancing the role of contemporary art in the life and environment of the university. She envisions a public art collection on campus that will both enhance and reflect the School of Art's impact and preeminence in the field. The Kraus Campo is the first project in Carnegie Mellon's plan to build a collection and to integrate campus life with the artwork of its renowned alumni.

The Regina Gouger Miller Gallery is located in the Purnell Center for the Arts. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. 0 5 p.m. and by appointment. Parking is available in the East Campus Parking Garage and in the Morewood Parking Lot, on weekends. Visit the gallery's Web site for a map and more:

For more information contact Jenny Strayer at 412-268-3877, or Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765, or visit


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