Sheldon spotlights acclaimed landscape artist

MIDDLEBURY — The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury, in partnership with the Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Cultural Landscape Foundation of Washington, D.C., and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation will be hosting a retrospective exhibit to honor and recognize influential and internationally-acclaimed Vermont landscape architect Daniel Urban Kiley (1912 – 2004) from May 14 to September 1, 2019.
Kiley’s practice and home were in Charlotte, Vt., where he was inspired by the fields, forests, and magnificent waters of the Lake Champlain Valley.
Soon following the 100th anniversary of Kiley’s birth, the Cultural Landscape Foundation created the exhibit, which consists of four dozen large photographs, both color and black and white, of his more celebrated landscapes, plus biographical information and interpretive analysis. While the exhibit has been featured at multiple museums and universities across the country (most recently at the University of California at Riverside), this is the first time that the exhibit will be presented in Vermont, where Mr. Kiley lived and worked and where he and his wife, Anne, raised their eight children. The exhibit provides the only venue in Vermont to view his creations.
Some of Kiley’s most notable designs include the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Dulles Airport in Virginia, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, The Chicago Art Institute, Fountain Place in Dallas, the Henry Moore Sculpture Garden in Kansas City, and, in collaboration with Eero Saarinen, the St. Louis Arch Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
The Kiley firm designed La Dalle Centrale, now known as L’Esplanade du Général de Gaulle, a pedestrian promenade in Paris. In New York City, the Ford Foundation’s 12-story enclosed atrium garden, designed by Dan Kiley, was the first of its kind in the U.S. and profiled in a New York Times article as a “slice of Eden in the city.”
Kiley was characterized by “The New Yorker” magazine in an article by critic Calvin Tomkins as “the leading American landscape architect” of the late 20th century.” Architect Kevin Roche, the former Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, commented in the New York Times that Kiley “was the most distinguished landscape architect of the 20th century.”
In Vermont, Mr. Kiley’s designs include the grounds of the Immaculate Conception Church in Burlington, the Twin Farms Resort in Barnard, and the Currier Farm in Danby. He also had landscape architectural consultations with Middlebury College and the University of Vermont.
During the exhibit, several talks and tours related to Dan Kiley are planned. On Saturday, May 18, two talks will be held at the Middlebury Town Offices, located across the street from the Sheldon Museum. At 2 p.m. landscape architect and urban designer Chris Dunn, in a talk titled “Man is Nature,” will discuss Kiley’s connection and love of Vermont and the Vermont landscape and how it influenced Kiley’s designs. He will journey from Colorado for the presentation.
KIMMEL RESIDENCE, SALISBURY, Conn., 2013. Photos of landscape architect Dan Kiley’s work will be on view at the Henry Sheldon Museum from May 14 through Sept. 1.
Photo/Neil Landino, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation
Chris Dunn specializes in detailed design for resort, civic, retail and residential environments worldwide. His 35 years of professional practice have culminated in enduring solutions for complex and environmentally-challenged development projects in Colorado, North America, Asia and the Middle East. He is married to Kate Kiley Dunn, daughter of Dan Kiley.
At 3:30 p.m., Jane Amidon, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Urban Landscape Program at Boston’s Northeastern University School of Architecture, will offer an overview of Kiley’s approach to landscape architecture and discuss highlights of his iconic artistic process. Jane grew up in Charlotte, Vt., and will be visiting her parents Ed Amidon and Louise McCarren.
The afternoon talks are being held in the conference room of Middlebury’s town offices. Space is limited. Advance reservations are recommended by calling 802-388-2117. The event is free to members of the Sheldon Museum and the Vermont Association of Vermont Landscape Architects; general public $5 (includes Museum admission). Visitors are encouraged to visit the Sheldon Museum to view the Kiley exhibit that day well in advance of the 2 p.m. start of the two May 18 talks.
For anyone wishing to see one of Kiley’s creations in person, the Sheldon Museum in conjunction with the Museum’s summer exhibit The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley, is offering a tour of the grounds Kiley’s design at Twin Farms Inn and Resort, in Barnard, Vt., Sunday, June, 2 at 2 p.m. and again on Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m. The tours will be led by General Manager Michael Beardsley. The cost is $15 for members of the Sheldon Museum and VTASLA; $30 for non-members. Reservations are required. Transportation is not provided, participants will meet at Twin Farms Inn. To make a reservation or for more information, call the Sheldon Museum at 802-388-2117.

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