Lee Mingwei: The Moving Garden, an installation comprising a forty-five-foot-long granite table with one hundred freshly cut flowers that appear to grow out of a channel that runs the length of the table, will be on view in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum
from October 5, 2011, through January 22, 2012. Created by New York-based artist Lee Mingwei, this interactive installation invites visitors to take a flower when they leave the Museum, on the condition that they make a detour on the way to their next destination and give the flower to a stranger as a gift. As the day wears on, the flowers at the Museum disappear, one by one. The next day, the flowers are replaced and the cycle begins again.
The artist was influenced in part by reading Lewis Hydes The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, when he became intrigued by the beneficial effects of gifts, both on those who give them and on those who receive. Another inspiration came on a spring day while the artist was sitting along the banks of the Rhône River in Lyon and saw hundreds of flowers inexplicably floating downstream.
Lee Mingwei has been creating participatory works of art since the late 1990s. One of his earliest pieces, The Dining Project (1997), came out of his experience in New Haven while in the MFA program at Yale University. This project involved inviting members of the community to dine with him one-on-one in his studio. Recent works include Guernica in Sand (2008). ),The Mending Project (2009), andTrilogy of Sounds (2010).
Born in Taiwan in 1964, Lee lives and works in New York. He is a graduate of the California College of Arts and received an MFA from Yale. He has had solo exhibitions and has been represented in group shows in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
A catalogue published by the Brooklyn Museum accompanies the exhibition, which has been organized by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary, in close cooperation with the artist.
The exhibition is made possible by the Taipei Cultural Center and by generous support from Rong-Chaun Chen, Jane Lombard,and Richard J. Lombard, Amy and Leo Shih, and Wen-Chuan Tseng.