City Art of the Week

On September 24, 2008 Tadashi Kawamata and his team set out to begin the construction of a site-specific installation in the center of Madison Square Park in New York City. The installation is entitled Tree Huts and it is something that can barely be expressed in words; it stretches the imagination in countless directions. Kawamata has created a series of wooden huts which he has nestled in to the limbs of the park’s trees. Walking into Madison Square Park and seeing the installations, you immediately seem to feel displaced into a world far beyond the reaches of existence. It is as if you have become a child again and the idea of a magical forest still lingers in the realm of possibility.

The frames of the huts are assembled on ground using raw lumber; with little to nothing predetermined in the rest of the process. Kawamata has designed the huts so that they take on a less uniform, predictable shape. Looking from down below, the wood is heavily layered on the floor, giving the huts a nest-like effect. The installation gives way to multiple extremes and ironies, which were undoubtedly very well thought out by the artist. The most effective contrast, for me, was the installations ability to transform a busy and public New York City park and it turn it into a homely backyard in a rural area. It is astonishing how effective a simple hut can be when placed in the correct setting.

Personally, I wish the huts would last forever to continue to grace New York with the presence of something so out of the ordinary, in a city where there rarely is anything out of the ordinary.

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