Since its opening in 1939, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden has been one of NYC’s most beloved green spaces. It was conceived as an outdoor gallery for changing installations that would bring nature, architecture, and art together in a new way. In 1953, the Sculpture Garden was redesigned by Philip Johnson, the first director of the architecture department, who imagined the space as a “roofless room,” with four distinct, marble-paved areas for displaying sculpture along with fountain pools, trees, and seasonal plantings. Across the years, the Sculpture Garden found other uses—exhibitions, performances, even protests—that reflect the Museum’s experimental nature. The current selection of works on view—Hector Guimard’s Paris Métro Station Entrance (c. 1900), Pablo Picasso’s She-Goat (1950), and Isa Genzken’s 36-foot-tall Rose II (2007), to name just a few—have become synonymous with the space and Johnson’s elegant, enduring design.
Explore the Sculpture Garden online as part of our Virtual Views series. Discover some of the wildest and most inspiring moments in the Sculpture Garden below, follow a guided meditation, learn about the birds and wildlife that call this “oasis in the city” home, see huge sculptures being installed with a crane, and more.