Donald Albrecht

A Beautiful Way to Go: New York's Green–Wood Cemetery

Museum of the City of New York
2013

Predating both Central Park and Prospect Park, Green-Wood Cemetery was one of the most important public green spaces in 19th-century America. A Beautiful Way to Go: New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery marked the 175th anniversary of this significant national landmark, exploring how its carefully constructed bucolic landscape reflected changing notions not only of death but of nature, and how Green-wood helped to inaugurate a rising trend of so-called rural cemeteries and public parks. Its grounds are a museum of monuments and statuary by leading architects and artists—including Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Richard Upjohn, and Warren & Wetmore, designers of Grand Central Terminal—working in a wide range of styles. Comprising equal parts architectural, art, social, and cultural histories, the exhibition featured original artifacts, sculptures, drawings, and Hudson River School paintings; historic documents; and photographs, including specially commissioned color images by Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao.

The show’s installation design put Green-Wood Cemetery beneath visitors’ feet, with artifact cases exploring the stories of Green-Wood’s people and places positioned near their locations within the cemetery’s landscape represented with five historic maps.

Mr. Albrecht conceived the exhibitions themes and organization, identified its designer, selected all artifacts, and wrote exhibition wall text.


Press

Articles in the New York Times, Newsday, and Associated Press outlets as well as coverage on local television.


Credits
Exhibition installation and graphic design: Abbott Miller/Pentagram
Lighting design: Anita Jorgensen
Photographs: Bilyana Dimitrova