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Seward Johnson’s sculptures are on display this summer at the Old Westbury Gardens

Seward Johnson's artwork depicts ordinary people doing ordinary things — like flying a kite, dancing, and eating.
Old Westbury Gardens
Seward Johnson's artwork depicts ordinary people doing ordinary things — like flying a kite, dancing, and eating.

Visitors to the Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island can expect more than just a landscape of flowers this summer as 35 life-size sculptures by the late renowned artist Seward Johnson are on display.

Seward Johnson, who died at age 89 in 2020, was known for his realistic life-size sculptures.

Exhibition curator Paul Hunchak said the artwork depicts ordinary people doing ordinary things — like flying a kite, dancing, and eating.

“It’s a chance for people to come back, even people who have visited the gardens in the past, we want them to come back and revisit the familiar,” Hunchak said. “It’s another way to view the gardens in a different way. To see the gardens and the grounds from a different perspective. ”

Hunchak said Johnson left the statue’s skin unpainted to remove race from the display, and to reflect the diversity in America.

“Everything is realistic as far as their pose, it’s all kind of painted as normal colors as one would expect,” Hunchak said. “But they left the skin tones in the patina bronze. So there’s a bit of ambiguity about, is it a particular ethnic group or not. It kind of really doesn’t matter, is what the artist is saying.”

Old Westbury Gardens is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Tuesday. Guests must purchase a ticket online before arriving.

“Re-Visiting the Familiar: Seward Johnson at the Gardens” is on display until Sept. 5.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.