The Art and Picture Collections at Mid-Manhattan Library present Urban Arcadia: Landscapes of New York and Berlin a site-specific exhibition of photographs by gardener and landscape planner Dr. Dorothea Hokema. Landscapes originally have been linked to rural, Arcadian, pastoral areas. Today they also can be found in cities. The photographs in Urban Arcadia hint at a special beauty of urban landscapes. The colors, light, composition, traces of nature, shadows, or graphical structure contribute to the possibility of experiencing contemporary Arcadia. Idyll, beauty, and pristine character might be ephemeral and the next highway or industrial area is not far away. The promise of happiness is less solid as the one of a rural idyll might be. Maybe this is the fascination of urban landscapes that they will last only for a moment – a car coming around the corner or the next step of gentrification taking away their magic qualities.
Artist and moderator Cyriaco Lopes, and artist and Professor Stephanie Hightower join Dr. Dorothea Hokema for An Artist Dialogue series event, on Saturday June 7 at 2:30 p.m. inside the Corner Room.
Photo Walls in Picture Collection exhibition series is curated by Arezoo Moseni.
Dorothea Hokema approaches landscape as a scientist and as well as a romanticist. She sees landscape as nothing more than an individual and societal construction – and at the same time she still feels the traditional promises of peace and harmony and happiness. The discrepancy can be explained by referring to philosophy, sociology and history of ideas, but that does not take away from the captivating quality of experiencing landscape. It is the tension between objectivity and subjectivity, between material space and pure emotion that makes landscape so fascinating. As a photographer Dorothea Hokema is a layperson. Her Photography is an attempt to envision possible manifestations of landscapes and to understand their aesthetic character. The collaboration with painter Stephanie Hightower affirms that there are no rules for the construction of beautiful landscapes.
Dr. Dorothea Hokema is a gardener and landscape planner living in Berlin and New York. After working in planning consultancies during the time of societal upheaval in reunifying Germany in the 1990s, she now teaches landscape planning at Technische Universitaet Berlin. Her scientific interest is the contemporary understanding of landscape. In 2013 she published her dissertation titled Landschaft im Wandel (Landscape in Flux) which studies German landscape discourses in science, planning, and everyday language. During a research residency in New York 2012-2013 she surveyed US-American citizens’ understanding of landscape. Besides the intercultural comparison of landscape discourses she is interested in the interdisciplinary exchange.