Front Lawn Wayfinding in Kansas City

Site seeing in the burbs. (photo: Gunnar Hand)

Last month rumblings started going around the leafy Armour Hills neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri. “Those hippies are up to something,” exclaimed one the area’s more conservative residents.

Local artist Pete Cowdin, who goes by the pseudonym A. Bitterman, has created a unique outdoor experience in his front and back yards. Entitled Point of Interest, the installation takes the property of the single-family home, and transforms it into a “national park.” The installation is an interesting critique of how society views nature as somewhere outside of the built environment. “We confuse Nature for the natural world, and this has generated a kind of madness,” Cowdin said.

The “park” is complete with a trail, sightseeing vistas, picnic tables, wildlife preserve and a grand sign and  information kiosk.

The kiosk includes sound, video, and the usual text and images. However, this somewhat esoteric interactive kiosk is art masked in information. Backcountry (back yard) permits are required to view the “Tree House Ruins,” “Untended Garden of Regret,” and “Secret Tea Party Bush.”

The project was funded by a grant from the Charlotte Street Foundation, the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

To discover more about the installation, you can visit the site Monday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to dusk at 14 W. 66th Street, Kansas City, MO through July 30. The exhibit is closed Sundays, holidays, and rainy days.

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