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Press Release

Experience three new Human+Nature sculptures at The Morton Arboretum

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LISLE, Ill. (June 16, 2022) — Three new sculptures have been added to The Morton Arboretum’s popular Human+Nature exhibition, including a ginkgo-inspired piece celebrating the tree conservation organization’s 100th anniversary.

Two large-scale sculptures, Ephemera and Mycelia, and Ginkgo, a smaller-scale piece commemorating the Arboretum’s centennial, were added to artist Daniel Popper’s largest exhibition in the world, now showcasing eight total sculptures.

“The additional sculptures will further enhance the guest experience during the Arboretum’s centennial year,” said Preston Bautista, Ph.D., the Arboretum’s vice president of learning and engagement. “Human+Nature offers guests a creative way to connect with nature and encourages further exploration of the Arboretum’s vast acreage.”

While the interconnectedness of people and nature remains the thematic thread running through all eight sculptures comprising Human+Nature, the artist used color and elements of fantasy and surrealism to distinguish the new sculptures from the originals.

“The new sculptures explore more ethereal and otherworldly understandings of the natural world,” Popper noted. “They are profoundly intertwined with the setting – each shaped by and for their respective environments – and resonate more clearly with the energy of the land.”

Ginkgo, an 8-foot-tall sculpture in Arbor Court near the Visitor Center, is inspired by Arboretum founder Joy Morton’s observation that, “The Arboretum is a ginkgo, and a ginkgo it shall remain.” As one of Morton’s favorite trees, the ginkgo is the last living species of an order that emerged more than 290 million years ago, a fitting reference to the Arboretum as it enters its second century. The sculpture is made of steel and cast aluminum with 100 ginkgo leaves framing a pensive face to represent 100 years since the Arboretum’s founding.

Ephemera, a 12-foot-tall sculpture adorning Bulb Meadow near the Maple Collection on the East Side, calls attention to nature’s sound with gramophone-like daffodil ears inviting guests to listen and observe the fleeting beauty of each passing season. The sculpture is made of concrete, fiberglass and steel.

Mycelia (pronounced mai-seh-lee-uh), at just over 12-feet tall, the stark-white, fungi-inspired sculpture situated in a secluded wooded area near Lake Marmo on the West Side, highlights what the artist calls the “neurological network of nature.” The sculpture is made of concrete, fiberglass and steel, and is named for the rootlike structure of fungus generally found under ground.

Human+Nature originally opened May 28, 2021, and is scheduled to run through March 2023. The exhibition is included free with advance timed-entry admission to the Arboretum. For tickets, visit mortonarb.org/visit-the-arboretum.

About Daniel Popper
Daniel Popper is a multidisciplinary artist from Cape Town, South Africa, known globally for his larger-than-life sculptures and spectacular public art installations. He is most acclaimed for his massive public art installations, including the memorial sculpture for the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, and now for his exhibition at The Morton Arboretum.