Play Art

"Because playgrounds are under-recognized as an artistic medium." In playgrounds as in other mediums, new forms and ideas often come from the art world, where an increasing number of artists and designers are utilizing playground forms in their work.


Parkour’s First Appearance on Television in 1997

Today’s post is a mashup of ThrowbackThursday and PlaySculptureSaturday, but that’s too long for a hashtag!  Thanks to reader Mark for sending me the link to this intriguing piece of recent play history:  the first time parkour was featured on television in 1997.  Beginning at :053, the clip shows the runners scaling Pierre Szekely’s monumental Dame du Lac sculpture between Evry and Courcouronnes, considered by many to be the birthplace of the new play sport.   Szekely completed the sculpture in 1975, incorporating many of the ideas he had worked out in smaller play sculpture installations (see this previous Playscapes post on his work).  Though the invention of Parkour was still years away, the forms of his sculpture seem to have perfectly anticipate the free form running-climbing-jumping-swinging that would be adopted on the site, and spread eventually throughout the world, including to other sculpted landscapes like those of Lawrence Halprin in the United – Read the rest…


#TBT Jimi Hendrix Playground, c. 19...

Even though it’s properly a sculpture, the Alice in Wonderland statue in NYC’s Central Park is essentially used as a - Read the rest...

Is this the most beautiful basketba...

As if in answer to my plea of “why can’t playgrounds be more beautiful?” up springs a kaleidoscopic basketball court - Read the rest...

#PlaySculptureSaturday, Bård Brei...

Some years ago I posted the most beautiful climbing wall in the world; a carved wooden orb at a preschool - Read the rest...

Boston Play-Day, Saturday July 18, ...

Mark your calendar for Play-Day at the Lawn on D THIS SATURDAY from noon to 5 pm! Come play on installations - Read the rest...

#PlaySculptureSaturday: What's Prog...

“Natural” Playground Sculpture that juxtaposes the profile of a mountain range with the Manhattan skyline. And then lets you climb - Read the rest...

Pentalum: Playful Bliss at the Lawn...

Paige’s Note: Rounding out our set of play-enlivening-public-spaces this week is the recent installation of Pentalum at Boston’s Lawn on - Read the rest...

Hopscotch Performance Art, Marta Mi...

Last year artist Argentinian artist Marta Minujin filled the Palais Royal in Paris with 70 hopscotch games in her signature style of - Read the rest...

Spaghetti Playgrounds!

Okay, so the architects who designed this beauty in Hamakita, Japan–the firm Suppose Design Co–call it “Forest Loops”, not spaghetti. - Read the rest...

An artist designed playground and i...

Paige’s Note: In her latest “After the Deadline” column, play chronicler extraordinaire Susan Solomon talks about one of everyone’s favorite - Read the rest...

Patrick Dougherty Stick Sculpture, ...

Artist Patrick Dougherty’s Stickworks are always play-ful, but the whimsical maze-like construction at the Olympia Hands-on Children’s Museum in Olympia, Washington, - Read the rest...

#TBT Mercer Island's Playground Dr...

For #TBT, the story of the dragon of Mercer Island park dragon, a rare happy ending for a mid-century playground - Read the rest...

"Shifting Sand Land" Super Mario Br...

Thanks to Arizona based artist Bobby Zokaites for submitting his “Shifting Sand Land”, a playground game system based upon the desert - Read the rest...

Banksy paints a Gaza Playscape, 201...

I did my garden history graduate studies in Bristol, hometown of Banksy, whose latest provocation in Gaza has just magically appeared: - Read the rest...

#PlaySculptureSaturday Motu Viget S...

“All of us are children at heart—or were children and have forgotten it. The child in us can respond to - Read the rest...

Octagon Shelter/Playhouse, Laura Ma...

Thanks to artist Laura Marotta for submitting her octagon shelter/playhouse, “a simple wooden and steel structure that makes use of - Read the rest...

#PlaySculptureSaturday: Stone Cars...

It’s quite common to see cars and trucks or even tractors carved out of wood on the playground, but it - Read the rest...

Nancy Rubins' Exploding Playground ...

Sculptor Nancy Rubins arranges discarded playground equipment into exploding forms. She’s currently working in post-war metal pieces, like spring riders…I’d - Read the rest...

#PlaySculptureSaturday: Midcentury ...

Unattributed, mysterious sculpture at the University of the Phillipines in Diliman. Beautiful photography by Dan Matutina, via flickr in the first - Read the rest...

Quetzalcoatl, Collette Crutcher, Sa...

Another Aztec-inspired playscape is Collette Crutcher’s Quetzalcoatl: one of the most beautiful examples of playground mosaic that I know. The feathered - Read the rest...

#PlaySculptureSaturday: Tarax, Pete...

You can play on Peter Corlett’s 1969 ferroconcrete bubbles at the McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park near Melbourne Australia. [img - Read the rest...

The changeover from feedburner to Mailchimp should be complete today…note that there is a new sign-up in the sidebar that - Read the rest...