Alfresco adventures

By Natasha Dragun

Gibbs Farm, New Zealand
Gibbs Farm, New Zealand
Not all art is housed in purpose-built galleries. These locations are where the great outdoors and artistic innovation come together.

Gibbs Farm, New Zealand (pictured above and below)

Gibbs Farm, New Zealand
Gibbs Farm, New Zealand

A corner of the New Zealand countryside may not be the most obvious location for an alfresco sculpture park of gargantuan proportions, but the Gibbs Farm project is the perfect fit for the rolling fields of Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland. A vast expanse of hills and gullies sloping to the harbour, the farm is home to larger-than-life sculptures – many of them commissioned – from the collection of Christchurch-born entrepreneur Alan Gibbs. Among the artists on the roster are Ralph Hotere, Len Lye and Zhan Wang.

The scale of the landscape is certainly daunting, but the artists do it justice with creations that range from a lightning simulator to an 84-metre-long, twisted red cone by Anish Kapoor. The farm is open monthly by prior appointment only.

TIP: If you like the sound of this, check out Storm King Art Center, a world-leading sculpture park near New York City ( Alternatively, closer to home you can check into The Lodge at New Zealand’s private Queenstown golf course, The Hills ( The exclusive space is available to 12 guests at a time and overlooks emerald-green fields dotted with contemporary sculptures, courtesy of a globetrotting group of artists.

Museo SubacuÁtico de Arte, Mexico

Jason deCaires Taylor's underwater creations
Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater creations

If you want to check out the artistic creations of eco-sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, you need to be prepared to get wet. A large number of the artist’s works are underwater sculptures off the coast of Isla Mujeres and Cancun in Mexico, offering divers and snorkellers mysterious, ephemeral encounters and fleeting glimmers of another world. The sculptures are designed to act as artificial reefs, attracting corals, increasing marine biomass and aggregating fish species while diverting tourists away from fragile natural reefs and providing space for rejuvenation. There are currently hundreds of statues set on the floor of the Cancun National Marine Park.

Brooklyn Street Art Tours, New York

Brooklyn street art
Brooklyn street art

In New York, the old industrial neighbourhoods of Brooklyn are being reinvented, with street artists decorating once-decrepit spaces with striking works.

Brooklyn local Matt Levy, co-owner of tour company Levys’ Unique New York, leads groups across the borough’s various neighbourhoods, decoding street art along the way. Works range from hard-to-spot applications to commissioned graffiti projects that take up the side of apartment blocks, usually with a story behind them.

Artist Never, for example, paints sad-looking owls, always carrying a price tag of $1.28 (apparently the date that Never’s ex-girlfriend broke the relationship off); Iranian brothers Icy and Sot collaborate on projects that speak of peace and love; and Belgian artist ROA’s direct-application spray-works depict animals.

Levy’s tour ends in Bushwick with lunch at Roberta’s, an old ball-bearing factory converted into a pizzeria/radio station.

TIP: NYC’s Metropolitan Transit Authority sponsors the ongoing Arts for Transit and Urban Design project, which sees paintings, installations and sculptures on display across the public transport network. 



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