American, b. 1944

Growing Under Solar Panels, 2018

Solar panels with raised growing beds, pond, and planting of nectar plants for bees
13 x 18 x 40 ft. (396.2 cm x 548.6 cm x 12.2 m)
Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Meg Webster has created a living sculpture that will change and grow throughout the exhibition’s season. Working in collaboration with Storm King’s landscaping team, she has incorporated native plants and wildflowers that eventually will be replanted across Storm King’s land. Solar panels generate electricity that then powers a watering system that draws from nearby pools. For the artist, the panels themselves also have a proud sculptural presence. This project is patterned after the work of Stephen Herbert, professor of agronomy at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in collaboration with David Marley of Hyperion Systems, a company that specializes in large-scale solar power production. By lifting solar panels and leaving ample space between them, Herbert and Marley found they could achieve improved plant growth compared with growing in the open. Working closely with these two scientists has allowed Webster to imagine a new iteration of her lifelong artistic project, which stems from a deep devotion to environmental preservation as well as her “driving need to make a garden.”

© Meg Webster, Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York