COMMUNITY ART IN THE POST-DISASTER LANDSCAPES OF TODAY

Monday, December 4, 2006

Site #12 "Pink Tree Pink!" Elizabeth Underwood: Peoples Avenue @ Mendez/Gentilly

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

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All I want to do is create beautiful surprises in this landscape & for this community who have (and continue to) suffer/ed their share of surreal visual surprises/abuses for the past year & a half. Just a reason to go, "What the heck?!" for something other than seeing a car on top of a house or a house upside down in the middle of a road or an empty field where your favorite grocery store used to be.

On a more personal level, I realize that many elements of this installation are honoring my sister Milissa who died a year ago December 16th. Also working so close to the house where I was living at the time of Katrina, I am confronting my own “flood lines” (I lost everything), literally and metaphorically. As I climb into the recesses of this dead tree, tenderly painting away, giggling and cold, trains passing, crows overhead, I am painting my way out of a grief that is both private and collective. One passerby said, “You’re brightening things up!” and this has become my mantra for the Pink Tree Pink.

It is in process now and will continue to evolve.

Be sure to say hi to Mr. Joseph Rooney (he lives right across the street from it) when you visit Pink Tree Pink (he planted this tree and the others around it - this stretch of land used to be his garden and he's just waiting for the city to come and clean it up so he can get to it again).



17 comments:

all night ninos said...

Hi Elizabeth thank you for your beautifull and soft sentament. I love yor creative style its like no other. p.s. HAVE you seen Peter Greenaway's movie Drowning by numbers? If not please see it . This REALLY reminded me of it. You Have Great Art Here!!!!

Heather said...

it's beautiful Elizabeth. there's something so straightforward and strangely pure about your tree. thanks for sharing & please keep in touch.
- Heather (now in New York)

Marci "Merci" Davis said...

Pink is so sensual, hot, cool, womb, nipple, happy, healing, healthy. Pink Tree Pink, me think!

stevokeefe said...

I love the Pink Tree! It must make you appreciate the strategy of trees -- like why they put this branch here or that limb over there. Trees have very clever ideas about how to grow and painting one pink is like doing an X-ray of their thought process -- it helps all of us see the patterns of growth we need to survive and thrive. Thank you!

erin c said...

Ok, E, here is a poorly structured first response to this amazing work.

This work reminds me of a Yayoi Kusama installation from this year in Singapore.

Here is a link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Orchard_Road_3%2C_Singapore_Biennale_2006%2C_Oct_06.JPG

A striking difference between the two is that Kusama's work is in one of the busiest streets in Singapore. This street is full of neon, electronic sounds, people, advertisements, the hustle and the bustle. Orchard Road is full of fashion and facades.

As I have YET to see Ms. Underwood's work in person (soon), I can only hypothesize the following: The location is organic, quiet, open, intimate, and not very many signs of people. It is exposed and undeniable.

>I feel both works assert the existence of the tree in a place where it is amazing they exist and have survived. Kusama’s trees have survived progress. Underwood’s tree has survived floods and winds.
>Whether the artist’s vision comes from medical hallucinations, or life as it was known is stripped and altered, these trees achieve the surreal in everyday life.

Both installations will exist for a finite amount of time. Kusama’s installation was put up with purpose and removed with purpose. Underwood’s installation was put up with purpose and we have yet to see if it will be hacked down with purpose or left to change and disappear over time.

{{{Elizabeth, thank you for reminding us that the world is a curious and beautiful place.}}}

ARTinACTION said...

Thanks to all of you for your positive support. The whole experience of the pink tree has transcended any hopes I have for what the "ArtInAction" process can instigate and I am amazed/humbled by that. Such a simple gesture (albeit absurd!) triggering so much.
And I definately regressed to my childhood days spent reading books while tucked inside the crabapple tree in my backyard. I used to be up in trees at every opportunity. It's sad to me that as grown-ups we lose so many of the wonderful playful attitudes of our youth. PinkTreePink gave that back to me & I highly recommend climbing a tree to everyone.
FYI: I've got some musicians hinting at wanting to do a hootenanny underneath the pink tree in the coming months! I'll post details here -

Zack Smith said...

E! while on a shoot in the East with Jenny B and Terence Blanchard at his mothers washed out home, we spotted your pink tree!! the one that survived the last tornado! We were on the raised RR trax, and in b/t "f/16 @ 125" she blurts..."look! its Eli's Tree!" and we all took a moment to reflect on where we were, who we are, and how much we love this city....your tree in action. Thanks.

ARTinACTION said...

Thank you Zack! The image I have in my mind of you all on this shoot & coming upon the tree makes me feel happy and connected. FYI: this site is going to keep changing - I'm out there this week initiating another phase of PinkTreePink so keep your eyes peeled!

Karen said...

I ran into your tree while researching demolitions. Every time I am in that part of the City I go to visit it.

ARTinACTION said...

That's great! Have you ever had the good fortune to meet Mr. Rooney?

Isn't it interesting, how it keeps changing? I'm set to go do another stage of work on it - painting & etcetera. Updated photos will be here as a new site asap!

Karen said...

I have a number of photos of it on my Flick site.

One with a great sky

Karen said...

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=334694135&size=l&context=photostream

ARTinACTION said...

That's great, Karen. And I love your flickr site. Thanks for connecting -

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to find a pink tree on Peoples Avenue, where I grew up (Peoples near Frankfort Street), where I developed my first world view, and one of the locations of pre and post Katrina dreams that influence me still. What a gift!

sbobet said...

sip bro...langsung ke TKP..
mo cek harsbobetganya nih

sbobet said...

sip bro...langsung ke TKP..
mo cek harsboganya nih

sbobet said...

and/or future disasters. Ultimately AORTA Projects can function as a mosbo
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del of one way that artists can respond to the long-term challenges of future catastrophic events. AORTA Projects'