Fritz Haeg on His Project for MoMA Studio: Common Senses

Panorama view of Domestic Integrity Field Part A-1 by artist Fritz Haeg, in MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Photo courtesy of Fritz Haeg

In conjunction with MoMA’s upcoming exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, MoMA’s Department of Education presents MoMA Studio: Common Senses, a multisensory environment at the intersection of education, design, and art, which aims to foster our evolving relationship with nature, technology, and our everyday surroundings through community interactions and creative play. On June 20, in advance of many exciting projects beginning in the fall, artist Fritz Haeg and a team of gardeners and farmers installed an organic garden called Domestic Integrity Field Part A-1 in the Museum’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. Domestic Integrity Field Part A-1 will be cultivated throughout the summer and harvested in fall for programs at MoMA Studio: Common Senses.

Artist Fritz Haeg tells us a little more about this garden and his thinking behind the project:

On June 20 I planted (in partnership with Annie Novak of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm) a 10-foot diameter circular garden of medicinals, herbals, edibles, and plants for pollinators in The Museum of Modern Art’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. It will grow through the summer and fall while being continually harvested of resources to supply the fall Museum presentation of Domestic Integrities.

Artist Fritz Haeg and gardener/farmer Annie Novak planting Domestic Integrity Field Part A1 in MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden on June 20, 2012

I now write this post to you from a farm in the Abruzzo region of Italy called Pollinaria, where I am developing this new project series to be presented this fall as part of the Education Department’s MoMA Studio: Common Senses. It is a very simple project—focusing on the ways that people make themselves at home using what is available around them—which I am finding difficult to describe, but here is the official text I am starting out with on the webpage

Establishing a plant-animal-people trilogy with the Edible Estates (est. 2005) series of front yard food gardens and the Animal Estates (est. 2008) initiatives for urban wildlife architecture, Domestic Integrities (est. 2012) turns its attention inward, to local patterns and rituals of interior domestic landscapes, the way we use what we resourcefully find around us to artfully make ourselves at home, bringing the outdoors in. Domestic Integrity Fields are charged sites—on crocheted rugs of of found materials, textiles, and clothes—to test, perform, and present how we want to live. One rug in each continent gradually expands as it travels from city to city.

The beginnings of the American rug for Domestic Integrity Field Part A-1, by Fritz Haeg. Photo Courtesy of Fritz Haeg

The American edition of the rug (pictured above), which will eventually travel to MoMA, was started at Mildred’s Lane during a visit in late June.

Proprietress J. Morgan Puett donated antique linens, which we cut into strips and crocheted into a 6-foot-diameter circle that will gather more rings as it travels. By the time it arrives at MoMA in the fall, it will hopefully be around 20 feet in diameter, and large enough to serve as a welcoming domestic landscape featuring arrangements (evolving daily) of organic materials harvested from the courtyard garden, such as dried herbs, breads, teas, flowers, etc.

—Fritz Haeg


Come join us at MoMA this summer to visit the beautiful garden, and stay tuned for more information about the upcoming calendar of programs and exciting events for MoMA Studio: Common Senses. Happy harvesting!

Domestic Integrity Field Part A-1 garden planted in MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in partnership with Annie Novak of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, with plants from McEnroe Organic Farm, steel garden planter fabrication by Kelco Construction Inc., and garden volunteers from Roberta’s Garden in Brooklyn.