Artful Green Dot

Views of the High Line Park

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on July 26, 2009

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The Tree Project

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on June 25, 2009

Hiroshi Sunairi has been asking dozens of participants from  across the world to plant Hibaku seeds for his latest art piece, titled, Tree Project. Hibaku seeds come from trees that miraculously survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima 60 years ago.  For the artist, this project is about sharing “the pleasure of growing plants,” with those who are interested. To participate, anyone can simply email the artist directly at treeprojects@gmail.com.

The Tree Project blog documents the sprouts’ progress –from Sunairi’s distribution of the seeds, to emerging sprouts in the care of participants. Visit the site to hear beautiful stories revolving around theses seeds and new pictures of the developing trees.  I have also been recruited by Hiroshi for this piece, and last week, my seedling finally made its way out of the soil.

What name should I give it?

What name should I give it?

This specific plant is a from the Persimmon tree and has a unique way of sprouting at the neck for several days.

Sunairi will exhibit documentation of the seeds’ growth along with the young seedlings in a show at the NY Horticultural Society next December.

Alan Sonfist’s Time Landscape

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on June 18, 2009

Alan Sonfist Time Landscape The Time Landscape sits peacefully on the corner of LaGuardia Place and Houston Street, as busy walkers bustle around it everyday.   I’ve overlooked this earthwork for the past four years, perhaps because at first glance, it seems like any other  fenced garden, only a bit overgrown.  It’s also situated right next door to another community garden full of vegetables and neatly tended flowers.  However, Sonfist’s work asks viewers to think of their environment in ways that a normal garden doesn’t.

This fenced plot, installed in ’78, holds a “primeval forest,” made up of Pre-colonial plants that inhabited Manhattan before settlers began transforming it into the concrete landscape we know today. With this in mind, I see Sonfist’s piece as an intervention in daily life, much like a  living timecapsule that holds live objects.   Unlike others in the 1960’s Land Art Movement, Sonfist created an earthwork that exists alongside nature instead of in domination of it.

I took these photos this past weekend.  On image.google  there are a few dozen pictures that capture the landscape as a whole, but  here, I’ve decided to post images that show some of the intimate details of the Time Landscape.  Regardless of what pictures you might see, every New Yorker should visit this piece at least once.

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While taking these pictures, I found myself stooping awkwardley around the fence to get scenes of the landscapes interior, but I realize now that it must have been Sonfist’s intention to view the landscape in conjunction with the world around it.

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Sculpture Magazine’s “Nature and Culture” articles in the May ’09 issue

Posted in Reviews in Print by Audrey Tran on April 14, 2009

To get some great insight and beautiful writing on how a few contemporary artists are working with the natural world, take a look at the May issue of Sculpture Magazine. This monthly spotlights different approaches to  nature through works by Jaehyo Lee, Chris Drury, Darrell Petit, Shawn Skabelund and Fritz Haeg (He’s the creator of Edible Estates). Each of these artists gives a different vibe and character to green issues. I have a lot to learn from the writers covering/ interviewing these artists.

The magazine has been really helpful for someone like me who only recently started studying this kind of art because it allows me to see a range of approaches outside of pioneer figures like Agnes Denes, Andy Goldsworthy, and Mark Dion.

My only criticism falls on the letter “From the Chairman” heading the issue. Instead of addressing the writing in this magazine, Josh Kanter used his column space to talk about the “seemingly unanimous outcry when any visual arts organization contemplates or implements the sale of a major work of art to bolster the financial position of the organization.” While I agree with his message and am glad someone is vocalizing this concern, I wish he had saved the words for an online post somewhere else. It just seems that an entire issue dedicated to such a thorough concentration deserves some recognition from the chairman.

In any case, the magazine should be out now.

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A Museum Without Walls

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on March 30, 2009

For over a year, artist Katie Holten has been heading the creation of a museum free of drywall, floors, and ceilings.

Her collaborative 4.5  mile public art piece will take place this summer  along the Grand Concourse in honor of the street’s centennial anniversary .

Holten’s Tree Museum will include environmentally conscious art and writing created by New York artists, writers, and activists (E.J. McAdams, who I interviewed in January, will also be apart of the exhibit). Students from P.S. 386, Dreamyard Preparatory, and the Bronx Writing Academy will also create work for this project.

Works will be housed in sidewalk display cases along the entire stretch of the Grand Concourse, while visitors may access audio tours through their cell phones.

Holten came up with the collaborative project after spending hours on the Concourse and observing its natural environment.  The purpose of the Museum is to  direct viewers to the ecosystem of the street.

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While the media typically gives us a negative portrayal of the Bronx, the Tree Museum will help counter that impression.

The museum, which is set to keep “the same visiting hours as trees,” will open on June 21st and goes till October 11th.

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Melting Art Objects: David Kennedy-Cutler’s Antarctica

Posted in Uncategorized by Audrey Tran on March 20, 2009

Although I met David Kennedy-Cutler for a talk several weeks ago, this might be the perfect time to blog about his Antarctic Soap Multiples in light of the new study from the journal, Nature.

I heard about the study first from DotEarth and then later on NPR . The study concludes that the West Antarctic ice sheet will collapse within a process spanning several thousand years.

While other bloggers nitpick over what the results of the study mean, I want to turn towards an art piece from 2006 that brings us this discussion through a totally different medium: soap.

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For this piece, David created 500 palm sized Antarcticas out of “Arctic Breeze” scented soap.

These multiples were made for North Drive Press, an annual publication that routinely includes 3-d multiples amongst interviews and prints.

While David doesn’t consider himself a political artist, others have told him his work is indeed political.

“The thought of Antarctica was just something that permeated my work,” he said. “It was in our mass consciousness at the time.”

In February, David  gave a lecture at NYU regarding the use of multiples throughout different moments of art history.

I saw the piece for the first time during his lecture, and throughout the talk, I knew I wanted to interview David about Antarctica because he didn’t seem like he was explicitly trying to create Eco Art.

In our talk, David said, “I don’t identify with the term, because I don’t consider myself an eco artist.”

It seems that while creating  Antarctica David’s thoughts worked around a fascination with the sublime:

“I’m interested in this intangible, changing phenomenon that can’t be trapped or owned….I was taking this thing that is remote and far out from us, and soap [has] this idea of purity or hygiene, and I felt that there was an equivalence to our notion of icebergs and we have this uncomplicated view of what Antarctica is or what unspoiled nature is.”

I have a soft spot for sculptures in which the medium carries the message.  Here, soap expresses the washing away of Antarctica, which David  said he felt equated with “a feeling of destiny.”

More images of Kennedy-Cutler’s Antarctica, here.

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