Hot Poppin' Culture News From New York City

Ray Villafane, Manolo Valdés Artwork In Spotlight (Photos)


American artist Ray Villafane and his talented crew have transformed the New York Botanical Garden into an enchanted forest of ghoulish pumpkin creatures just in time for Halloween.

Villafane, whom Martha Stewart called the “Michelangelo of pumpkin carving,” is a two-time winner of the Food Network’s “Outrageous Pumpkins” challenge.

Villafane and his team (Andy Bergholtz, Trevor Grove, Alfred Paredes, and Chris Vierra) worked around the clock this weekend to complete their spooky haunted pumpkin garden.

New York Botanical Garden’s Magical Halloween


Photos by Samantha Chang

When asked how he comes up with his pumpkin-carving concepts, Villafane, 43, says ideas float around in his mind all the time.

“Right now, I’m already thinking about ideas for next Halloween,” he told TheImproper.

“The [creative] process is organic,” added master carver Bergholtz, who’s currently competing on Food Network’s “Halloween Wars.”

The Haunted Pumpkin Garden exhibit will be on view at the New York Botanical Garden through Oct. 30.

In another section of the NYBG, spectacular towering sculptures by Spanish artist Manolo Valdés are on display on the garden’s majestic grounds.

The exhibit, entitled “Manolo Valdes: Monumental Sculpture,” includes seven bronze, cor-ten steel and aluminum sculptures ranging in size from 17 feet tall to more than 50 feet in width.

“My sculptures are meant to have different lives and personalities throughout the seasons,” said Valdés, 70, who splits his time between New York and Spain. “Each season will bring many, many surprises.”

The Valdes exhibit is on view until May 2013.


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