On a beautiful Friday in January, Melissa F and I decided to check out the Benini Sculpture Ranch. Formerly LBJ’s hunting camp, the Sculpture Ranch and Foundation moved here in 1999 from Florida.
We were expecting a short stroll with a dozen or so of the artist’s sculptures on display. Boy, were we wrong! Set on 140 acres outside of Johnson City, at least 60 sculptures by Benini and other contemporary artists were displayed among the hills and live oaks.
Scott Sustek (?) figure
Gemini's Song, Peter Mangan
Our neighbor, Warren Cullar, has three sculptures there…which I didn’t realize until I read through the listing.
The Studio building, a quonset hut, housed exhibits of Benini’s 80s-era paintings, small sculptures, and rotating exhibits of other artists.
Commedia dell’Arte series, Marshall Cunningham
The many kinetic sculptures by LaPaso were fascinating, especially when a breeze caught the copper cups and starting parts spinning. Our favorites included glass pieces that glowed in the sunlight.
We certainly didn’t understand many of the pieces, but they were fascinating. In particular, the ropes installation was intriguing.
Phantom Hill, Robert McConaughy
But our favorite was the Mother Tree. It’s nice to see they have a sense of humor around there.
We walked up the steep incline to the artist’s home, which used to be LBJ’s camping lodge. Benini offered us a ride, but we passed. The home has an amazing 360-degree view and is, of course, surrounded by sculptures.
I think the most special part of this collection is how carefully it’s been sited to complement the beautiful landscape. Even the birds agree. Can you see the nest inside the chest of this figure?
Untitled, Bob Fowler
The Sculpture Ranch is amazing and inspiring. I highly recommend you check it out.
Another sculpture ranch close by to check out:
Eyfells and Eyfells Foundation