American Folk Art Museum Logo

Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand

April 4, 2006–September 24, 2006
Exhibition

“Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand” showcases the work of this visionary self-taught artist from India, whose thousands of cement animal and human sculptures occupy a 25-acre site-specific art installation, the Rock Garden, in Chandigarh, India. The American Folk Art Museum recently acquired 29 works from a miniature garden Nek Chand built for the National Children’s Museum, in Washington, D.C. (reopening in 2012). These sculptures, along with five already in the museum’s collection, are featured in groupings on tiered pedestals, echoing the design of the original Rock Garden. Large-scale photographic images demonstrate the grand scale of the world’s largest and most significant folk art environment. The exhibition also examines how Nek Chand has adjusted his private vision into a public one and how the mission of the Rock Garden has adapted to reflect the needs of its community.

Artworks

Lady Fetching Water
Nek Chand (b. 1924)
Chandigarh, India
c. 1984
Concrete over metal armature with mixed media
32 x 11 x 4 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of the National Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C., from the Capital Children’s Museum Nek Chand Fantasy Garden, in honor of Gerard C. Wertkin, director of the American Folk Art Museum, 1991 to 2004, 2004.25.11
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Lady Fetching Water
Nek Chand (b. 1924)
Chandigarh, India
c. 1984
Concrete over metal armature with mixed media
27 x 10 x 4 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of the National Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C., from the Capital Children’s Museum Nek Chand Fantasy Garden, in honor of Gerard C. Wertkin, director of the American Folk Art Museum, 1991 to 2004, 2004.25.2
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Lady Fetching Water
Nek Chand (b. 1924)
Chandigarh, India
c. 1984
Concrete over metal armature with mixed media
33 x 11 x 5 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of the National Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C., from the Capital Children’s Museum Nek Chand Fantasy Garden, in honor of Gerard C. Wertkin, director of the American Folk Art Museum, 1991 to 2004, 2004.25.6
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Mithuna Plaque
Nek Chand (b. 1924)
Chandigarh, India
c. 1965
Tinted concrete over metal armature with shells
33 x 10 x 15 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of Nek Chand with support from Charlotte Frank, Kathryn Morrison, Cheryl Rivers, and Steven Simons, 2001.13.4

Lady Fetching Water
Nek Chand (b. 1924)
Chandigarh, India
c. 1984
Concrete over metal armature with mixed media
31 x 11 x 7 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of the National Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C., from the Capital Children’s Museum Nek Chand Fantasy Garden, in honor of Gerard C. Wertkin, director of the American Folk Art Museum, 1991 to 2004, 2004.25.1
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Monkey
Nek Chand (b. 1924)
Chandigarh, India
c. 1984
Concrete over metal armature with mixed media
21 x 15 x 15 in.
American Folk Art Museum, gift of the National Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C., from the Capital Children’s Museum Nek Chand Fantasy Garden, in honor of Gerard C. Wertkin, director of the American Folk Art Museum, 1991 to 2004, 2004.25.18
Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Credits

“Concrete Kingdom: Sculptures by Nek Chand” is supported in part by the Gerard C. Wertkin Exhibition Fund.

Reviews
... magical realism ...
– New York Times
... Utopian fantasies ...
– Village Voice