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decordova-for-webSpreading out across the 20-acre grounds of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, students from visual arts faculty member Martin McDermott’s Advanced Sculpture class studied and sketched works by renowned modern and contemporary artists. 

“Right now in class, we’re working on two pieces, a stone piece and one with welded steel,” said Martin. “And a lot of the pieces here use those materials. It’s a really great place to explore and discover things.”

The visit to deCordova, located in Lincoln, Massachusetts, was part of a daylong study of sculpture in the Boston area. After spending the chilly and misty morning encountering outdoor installations, the class traveled to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. 

“We try to do this at least once per semester, to take the students out to these great places we have access to,” Martin said. 

Martin’s favorite piece at deCordova is Steven Siegel’s “Big, with rift,” a 2009 piece constructed of stacks of newspaper and native vegetation. He began the class’s visit there to demonstrate how a piece can evolve. “There were these big, tall stacks of newspaper that were just left to decompose,” he said. “At this point, it’s hard to tell that it’s even newspaper, it just looks like natural forms. It’s interesting that a piece can change over time, and every time you come back, it’s something new. 

The deCordova park shares a common image with Milton’s campus: Jim Dine’s 1985 “Two Big Black Hearts,” a pair of 12-foot-high bronze heart shapes in the back of a woods-surrounded lawn, mirror Dine’s 1988 “Four Hearts,” which stand in front of the School’s Kellner Performing Arts Center.