Secret Garden

Behind the scenes of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

It’s hard to believe, in some ways, that the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is still a youth, a recent college grad, still figuring itself out. Born in 1988, it filled out quickly. But there’s still plenty of room for growth, as things come and go, and the hills around the backside of the Walker Art Center remain largely unexploited (though the annual Rock the Garden concerts would become awkward if more accurately named).

The garden was and still is a rather formal affair—a lawn with square courtyards and hedges—too formal for the likes of Coosje van Bruggen, Claes Oldenburg’s wife and collaborator, who conceived the oversized spoon and cherry as a send-up of the designer Edward Barnes’s fussiness (an obscure reference to the predilections of the ultimate fussbudget, King Louis XIV).

Starting May 23, to celebrate the 25th anniversary, the Walker is once again staging artist-designed mini-golf in the garden, the ultimate in high/low. The price may fall into the former ($12 adults, $9 kids), but the holes this year seem irresistible at any price. Garden gnomes as foosball strikers, a scale model of a French chateau, mazes, gopher holes, and—in a nod to actual golfers—contours mapped from Augusta National Golf Club.

Hot dogs, requiring no artistic involvement whatsoever, will be served at the Dog House café.

Zen Garden Hole:

Zen Garden hole

Be A Sculpture:

Holey Lighted:

To learn more about the Walker grounds, read “Secrets of the Garden.”