My “New Growth” Sculptures were installed recently at Drew University. It was a fantastic setting for these sculptures and great opportunity, but one funny thing happened right after installation. Before the cement was dry on the palm tree, someone had stolen it.
Of course I took this as a misplaced sign of approval – pilfering is a complement whereas vandalism is the opposite.
After a campus-wide email (the digital equivalent of LOST/REWARD posters), one half of the sculpture was returned anonymously – It was left in a parking lot, propped against the car of an administrator. (Each tree is made up of two sides, front and back.) I recreated the missing side using the returned half as reference, and all was well.
I recently heard the podcast episode “Palm Reading” on the fantastic podcast 99% Invisible regarding palm theft (which is apparently a thing….some live palms are worth up to 20K!) and also an analysis of what palms signify in our culture.
[Orientalist Study, Figures by the Water, Egypt (c. 1890) by A. Marchettini]
The Spirit of Elsewhere….the Holy Land…Exoticism…Orientalism….Luxury and Leisure….
What New Jersey college student wouldn’t want an occasional taste of these things, all evoked by this particular species of plant.
Take a listen.
I deinstalled my sculptures from Drew University a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful to have these pieces at my alma mater, the University in the Forest! Thanks to Kim Rhodes for coordinating the whole effort and surrounding events (panel, class visits, publications, and this instagram campaign!) Thanks to Stephanie in the facilities department and her crew for such a smooth deinstall. Thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding the program.
These babies are now tucked in for the winter in my storage shed, although a select few of the evergreen variety may be making an appearance in my home for Christmas.
New Growth was installed at Drew University this spring, and it will be up through October.. See image of palm tree as well as a map of where to find each tree on campus.
I deinstalled my sculptures on Randall’s Island a few weeks ago with the help of Mike and Peter as well as Deb and her crew. First we unscrewed the nuts and used a mallet to whack the bolts loose (pictured above).
When we removed the plywood pieces from the signpost, we found some creatures living inside:
The signpost + 3 ft of concrete were ripped out of the ground by a large machine.
Long day spent mostly in a U-Haul driving all over NY and NJ. Lots of traffic. Some Japanese food at the end.
Opening day of FLOW. Photos by Brian Ross.
All photos by Tsubasa Berg.
One of the things that’s lost when seeing art via the internet is being able to see tiny details and the texture of the object. These details are one of my favorite things about my FLOW piece. In the more detailed images, the way the graphics were converted to vectors is really cool — the image gets broken up into shapes of solid colors. In most of the trees, you can see the grain of the plywood through the translucent paint or ink.
These photos are by Tsubasa Berg.
8:00 AM I arrived, met Deb and Fin, and we started drilling out the holes. 8 holes, 3 ft deep x 1 ft diameter, with two being “long holes”: 1 ft wide x 2 ft long. Cleaned up the holes with shovels.
9:20 AM Mike arrived with sonotubes. We widened some of the holes and inserted the sonotubes.
10:00 AM Eric and Chris arrived with the sculptures. We started putting them in their respective holes, staking them, and wrapping plastic around the bottom to protect from concrete splashes.
10:45 AM Concrete truck arrived. Mike and Eric started filling holes while Chris and I continued to place and stake them. Cleaned up the concrete a little.
12:15 AM Concrete truck left. Cleaned the wheelbarrows and shovels, gathered tools. Ate lunch.
Chris is hand painting two of the most graphically simple trees. The process is this:
1. Project image onto plywood
3. Make stencil with blue tape while watching Law & Order
5. Remove tape