Renwick and Trees

What I find myself doing most of the time is making fun of “modern artists” who throw together inane things and call it art. I have never been much of an artist myself by any reasonable standard but to me visual art at least pretty much has meaning if it is a drawing, painting or sculpture of something I can appreciate. So ordinarily if I walk into a gallery and I see a fake tree being elevated horizontally I dismiss it as a pretentious, artsy thing that does not make any sense. But then I actually found out about the tree and why they artist went to all the trouble of making it in the first place and it came together. This artist decided to take a cast of a tree in the forest and put it together as an art piece. When its run at the gallery is up, it will be moved next to the original tree and it will decompose back into the earth. Is this in anyway significant or particularly relevant to my life? Probably not. There is no rational reason for me to care at all about this tree. But the concept of the project seemed like it made sense. Make a tree and then return the tree to the earth like real trees when they decompose. It made me think about whether things that are functionally the same thing, a fake a tree and a real tree, actually have meaningful distinctions. I don’t know. Also when I first saw I was reminded of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” where she sings “Took all the trees/Put ‘em in a tree museum.” Even though they are representing two different things, just seeing a random tree in a museum made me think of those lyrics about appreciating what you have.

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