Tree Lugger

“Is it going to thunder and lightning in there?”

ABC Stone in Greenpoint is an oddly suitable place to see an exhibition about landscape because there are expensive marble slabs everywhere and because they pipe in jungle sounds (to scare away pigeons). The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley, like most retrospectives mounted by the Cultural Landscape Foundation, is more interesting for the video interviews it pulls together than for the soft-focus photos of Kiley’s obviously beautiful gardens, which are commonly compared to the baroque designs of Andre Le Nôtre because both feature squares. Former colleagues reminisce about the period when Kiley, who contributed more than a little to the profession’s macho reputation, ran his design studio like a sleepaway camp out of a barn on Lake Champlain, with bonfires and ice fishing mixed in with the drafting. Especially memorable is a clip about the construction of the Ford Foundation atrium—the Versailles of POPS. Kiley protégé Richard Haag recounts his mentor’s skeptical response to Kevin Roche’s pitch for re-creating a New England forest inside a Midtown office bu…

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