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 Tell us another dog story" and other quotes presented in the "Messages From the Garden" Art Installation in October


Messages From the Garden, an installation by artist Diana Leidel, consisted of commercIally printed lawn signs placed among garden foliage documenting random unremarkable quotes from one-sided conversations and out-of-context statements gathered from the artist's readings in print and online media. It was on view at the Rockwell Place Community Garden in the BAM Cultural District of Fort Greene.


Viewers (or "readers") walked along the paths and discover the messages staked in the ground or hung on trees throughout the densely planted garden, a triangular oasis of calm at the frenetic junction of Flatbush and Lafayette Avenues, near the Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House.


More than sixty signs were placed in the garden, recording brief quotations, such as "Tell us another dog story," (from the novel The Orphan Master’s Son,  "Right now, of course, they are sound asleep," {from a New York Times article about Ground Hog Day) and “Then it hit me! I had crossed the line from innocuous observer to borderline voyeur,” from Art Without Compromise (a book about the creative process.)



For more information about Messages From the Garden and the Rockwell Place Community Garden, email garden coordinator Ron Janoff at or Diana Leidel at


Comment About "Messages"




“The art exhibit can be seen as a playful take on typical plant identification signs... like the ones you would find at the nearby Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Leidel installed sixty signs printed on commercial corrugated plastic. They are convincing as oversized didactics, but minus the plant info and long Latin label. Seemingly random bits of dialogue or instruction appropriated from books and newspapers alter the usual garden experience. The art turns visitors from traditional garden relaxation into active partners in dialogue with the plants. Open-ended questions and

comments hang from brambles and blossoms: "Right now, of course, they are asleep." or, "Tell us a dog story” forced me into an odd relationship with these flowers and saplings. I suppose its not that far off from seeing Little Shop of Horrors, but with the fresh air of a live garden. And the quotes are delightfully ambiguous.”


From Visual Culture in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn blog by Rich Garr



“I really loved this exhibit—more than I thought I would. The space and the plants and bushes were very attractive, and the quotations on the signs really added to the impact of the space. Further, the quotes were so interesting––some were thought-provoking and some were humorous, and none of them seemed pretentious or over-the-top. It all seemed quite “of a piece” and a real pleasure to participate in.”


Elayne Archer

Brooklyn Resident


“I wandered through the magical garden, its shrubs and trees alive with text carefully and randomly planted by the artist from her late-night readings of short stories, poetry, prose, history, biography, literature of all kinds. For the first time, I realized how articulate a garden could be, especially one transplanted smack in an urban space…These green cards held reflections and prescient visions of a neighborhood stepped in literary and hardscrabble traditions… all held together in the sure hands of an artist who, rather than cursing the demons of the night for keeping her awake, embraces the texts in the early morning light, scanning the words, weaving their not so random synergies. In that respect, the garden was a lot like a theatre.”



“The quotes "from" the garden made me really look at the plants and bushes, rather than distracting my attention from them. Hard to explain. What I do know is that the choice of quotes was perfect, but why is another mystery. The quotes had nothing to do with gardens or even the out-of-doors. Yet each one seemed to be alive, like a flower with a distinct shape and color and fragrance...some funny, some sad, some matter of fact.”


Robert Landy

New York University

Messages From the Garden

Video glimpses of the Installation at the Rockwell Place Garden in Brooklyn, NY

October 2013


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