The Lot

365 Bales

June 1—June 30, 2000


Stephen Grossman

365 bales is an environmental sculpture made with bales of hay in a barren city lot. The sculpture creates an intimate and quiet respite from an otherwise hostile and noisy urban street front. In its garden-like alleys and chambers, visitors experience an escape from the hardness and noise of the city while remaining at its center. The existing lot is devoid of nature or any amenities. Soft and fragrant mulch underfoot, dense walls of hay, and the subtle presence of birds at the interior of the lot is a surprising and radical shift in one’s experience of this space and by extension of one’s relation to the city. The lot is bounded on three sides by high masonry walls. The fourth side is open to an adjoining street. The sculpture consists of thick walls of hay seven and a half feet high set parallel to each other and perpendicular to the street, creating a ‘filter’ for viewers to pass through from the street front to the rear (interior) of the lot. At the most interior corner of the lot one of the hay walls is L-shaped, thus defining a rectangular chamber that the viewer can enter after passing through the filter walls. The ground in the interior area is covered in cedar mulch. Birds have nested in crevices and holes in the existing masonry walls. From this interior corner one cannot see out to the street, sound is muffled, the ground is soft and smells sweet. In just a few steps, only a few seconds have elapsed and yet one is in a wholly different environment. This is an environment that perhaps lays a groundwork for hope and renewal.