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  • Once or twice a month, the private art collection at Gibbs Farm in New Zealand opens up to the public.

  • The tickets are free, but they go very quickly.

  • The art here in this collection isn't just paintings on a wall: it's land art, made by moving vast amounts of soil and earth, or it's sculpture on a scale seen only in a few places in the world.

  • And the most famous piece in the collection is this: Horizons, by Neil Dawson. Fifteen meters wide, the height of a four-story building.

  • Depending on who you ask, it either resembles a piece of corrugated iron blown in from a distant farm... or a giant paper tissue that's been thrown away.

  • And it looks like a cartoon that's been sketched on the landscape, but it's made of welded steel.

  • And I think the thing that sells the optical illusion best is that little spike, that little incomplete fold.

  • Which is, yeah, actually a big spike of metal, but from a distance, your brain just doesn't see that.

  • This was one of the first pieces commissioned for Gibbs Farm.

  • And it was commissioned: Alan Gibbs, who owns this farm and the art on it, is one of the wealthiest folks to come from New Zealand.

  • And rather than collect art that had already been made, he hired internationally famous artists and sculptors and said, in short:

  • "Here's some money. Make me a thing that'll go here."

  • This farm is basically one rich millionaire's playground.

  • Heck, it was originally bought as a fairly remote place to drive a collection of vintage military vehicles. The art came second.

  • In a 2017 interview with the Wall Street Journal, Gibbs said:

  • "It's not a public park. It's not a charity."

  • "I'm happy to let people see it," he said, "but it's still primarily a family holiday retreat."

  • Of course, everything here is well documented; you can look online and see every sculpture from basically every angle possible.

  • But if you actually want to stand here and experience that optical illusion for yourself, if the feeling of being here, in person, is important to you...

  • Well, Gibbs Farm is only open occasionally.

  • You'll have to join the rest of us in the queue for tickets.

Once or twice a month, the private art collection at Gibbs Farm in New Zealand opens up to the public.

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B1 UK farm art sculpture collection optical illusion

The Sculpture That Looks Like A Real-Life Cartoon

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    Jeff Chiao posted on 2022/03/06
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