Designed by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the Billy Rose Art Garden lies on the western slope of the Museum’s campus. It is divided into wide, crescent-shaped sections arching upward and supported by high walls made of rough fieldstone. As in a Japanese Zen garden, the ground is covered in gravel, and paths lined with local plants and trees connect the different sections. A multitude of materials were incorporated into the garden’s design: stones of different kinds and sizes, exposed concrete, and water. Walls enclose smaller spaces and rectilinear terraces of the garden, echoing the shapes of the Museum’s buildings.
The collection displayed in the garden includes works by the great sculptors of the late nineteenth century (Auguste Rodin, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, and Aristide Maillol) and renowned artists of the twentieth century (such as Pablo Picasso, Alexander Archipenko, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, David Smith, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, Claes Oldenburg, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and James Turrell). Menashe Kadishman, Igael Tumarkin, Ezra Orion, and Benni Efrat are some of the prominent Israeli artists represented.
The Art Garden is greatly loved by the Museum’s visitors. While providing an opportunity for the quiet contemplation of natural and artistic beauty, it has also been the venue of successful cultural events of all kinds. Counted among the finest sculpture gardens of the twentieth century, this is one of Noguchi’s masterpieces, a synthesis of different cultures—those of the Far East, the Near East, and the West—against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s dramatic landscape.