Manhattan is peppered with parks that offer hustling, bustling New Yorkers a chance to stop and smell the roses (or at least the savory scents of world famous hot dogs). Each summer, the New York nonprofit Public Art Fund transforms several of these urban oases into contemporary art spaces.
Earlier this month, the organization unveiled artist B. Wurtz’s (Art MFA 80) debut public art commission, Kitchen Trees. The whimsical exhibition is installed in City Hall Park and features five colorful arboreal-like sculptures made from found kitchen items. Stacked colanders, pots and pans form columnar trunks with branches sprouting a cornucopia of plastic fruits and vegetables.
From Public Art Fund:
For nearly fifty years, Wurtz has used found objects to create idiosyncratic assemblages related to basic human needs – food, clothing, or shelter…Kitchen Trees is an inventive metamorphosis. Wurtz resourcefully re-uses these common materials in unexpected ways, yet still preserves their legibility. The resulting sculptures demonstrate a genuine appreciation for the value and beauty of ordinary things and help us see the extraordinary possibilities of our everyday surroundings. They celebrate potential where it might not otherwise be apparent, offering a different kind of creative nourishment for us to enjoy.
During a recent interview with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Wurtz reiterated this penchant—and appreciation—for using common, everyday objects in his work as it related to one of his favorite possessions: an Eames chair: “With my sculptures, you can see how they’re made. Everything is obvious, nothing is hidden. And that’s what’s great about Eames furniture. Nothing is hidden either. It’s honest and simple. I like seeing all the mechanical details. Every screw is part of the design. I really relate.”
Wurtz was born in Pasadena, Calif., and lives and works in New York City. In 2015, he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom. The following year, the exhibition traveled to La Casa Encendida, Madrid. He has had additional solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; and Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago. His work has been included in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (France).
Kitchen Trees will remain on view through Dec. 7.
Learn more about the making of Kitchen Trees in a video from the Public Art Fund below:
Kitchen Trees by B. Wurtz
Aug. 7-Dec. 7
City Hall Park
Broadway and Chambers St., New York City