Lawn Nation: Art and Science of the American Lawn

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2430 North Cannon Dr., Chicago


($9 adult general admission; $7 students and seniors; $6 children; Thursdays free)

Through September 7



CHICAGO (Feb. 25, 2008) - Just in time for summer, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum introduces Lawn Nation: The Art and Science of the American Lawn. Starting May 23, this Chicago-only exhibition looks at the cultural underpinnings and environmental consequences of turf grass, America's largest irrigated crop.

"Lawn is the most common landscape people encounter when they step outside," said Jill Riddell, vice president of exhibits and strategic initiatives. "No other ground cover in Chicago is as ubiquitous as mowed turf. This exhibition takes a close look at what this landscape of lawn really is and why we have so much of it."

From lawn leisure to lawn theory, this indoor/outdoor exhibition presents the work of more than 30 artists, photographers, filmmakers, scientists, academics and landscape architects, all coming together to bring attention to the lawn and its affect on all of us. "Turf grass is a choice, not an inevitability," Riddell added. "People who are lucky enough to have a yard have to wrestle with questions of how to make it look good and easy to maintain, how to use less water, how to use fewer pesticides."

Visitors to Lawn Nation will encounter tips on sustainable lawn care and videos about lawn history. The information comes alongside such installations as a 3D perspective of a bug in the grass. Museum goers also will have a chance to go on a scavenger hunt for garden gnomes, play indoor croquet and sit on a literal lawn chair.

For Lawn Nation, the Nature Museum is partnering with Openlands, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing public open space in northeastern Illinois, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College, which is hosting a sister exhibition called Beyond Backyards that will open on June 20.

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