Nemeses of the Boss Gardener

Neither William Hammond Hall, the first Golden Gate Park superintendant, nor John McLaren, the “Boss Gardener” who later oversaw the park for 53 years, cared for statues of “great men.” Their vision was a wilder, more pastoral one; McLaren would purposely plant trees and brush around new monuments to hide them from view. But statues were built nevertheless. The three pictured here — of Beethoven, Cervantes, and Shakespeare — are in hailing distance of each other, on the edges of the Music Concourse.

It’s a good bet that we’ll hear about these influential park superintendants during tonight’s talk and slideshow at Canessa Gallery, when Heath Massey, landscape architect and landscape historian, discusses “Artists in Golden Gate Park.” I look forward to it! My photography art show — “Welcome to Fogland,” in its final 10 days at Canessa — will be open for viewing both before and after the presentation.

Information about tonight’s event is available at Canessa Gallery: http://www.canessa.org/events.html .   You can read Heath Massey’s entry about John McLaren at her blog, “Views from the Thicket,” at http://fromthethicket.com/2010/10/09/john-mclaren/  and find other park history at the Encyclopedia of San Francisco here:  http://www.sfhistoryencyclopedia.com/articles/g/goldenGate-park.html#tenac

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