23 May 2007

Roxy Paine, you make my heart sing

I cruise by Madison Square Park everyday; its the spot where I turn left and head towards Brooklyn; towards home, with the legendary Flatiron Building to my right; the crossroads. That's why the Flatiron Building is the main character in the masthead of this site.

I remember seeing these intriguingly beautiful silver trees being erected in Madison Square Park several weeks ago. I sent myself a text message, as I do a million times a day, to remind myself when I got home to research what the fuck they were. I didn't have much luck since no one knew what I was talking about, yet; they were still being installed by guys on cherry pickers.

Thankfully, a friend clued me in to NY's Roxy Paine; an actual genius. Paine is known both for his digitally controlled machines that create paintings, and for his artificial plants and fungi (such as poppies and psilocybin). The stainless steel trees seem to be his most ambitious plant yet. The trunk is composed of sections of stainless steel pipe, flawlessly welded together, and perfectly polished, so that it resembles the growth spurts of a real tree. Unlike his previous plants, which appeared real, this tree is clearly stainless. The issues of artifice, so apparent in the machines that paint, are clearer in this steel tree that approximates nature, than in his artificial plants which duplicate nature. There seem to be analogies between the digital code that controls his painting machines, and the DNA code that controls plant growth. The steel tree was obviously manufactured, but manufactured according to plans of living trees, suggesting that the coding which controls manufacturing, and so many modern processes, mutated from the DNA code that creates all living things.

The stainless steel trees have been an installation in the park for over a month now. I love watching the dogs looking so puzzled at the giant silver trees; theres really nothing cuter than a confused dog; but a confused dog AND a giant brilliant work of art ? That's like a triple-letter word score using Q and Z.

Anyway if you find yourself in the area this summer, go visit these amazing works of art. I promise you'll have seen nothing like them before.

Check out more of his art here

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