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Glasgow-born, Berlin-based artist Katie Paterson has spent the past three years collecting wood samples from around the world, trying to check off all the items on her tree species wish list. In addition to samples of common tree species, like ginkgos, banyans, redwoods, Phoenix palms, and Lebanese cedars, she scored a piece of a nearly 5,000-year-old Methuselah tree, one of the world’s oldest living organisms; a scrap of railroad tie taken from the Panama Canal Railway, which claimed the lives of thousands of workers during its construction; and wood salvaged from the Atlantic City boardwalk, devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
These are just a few of the 10,000 types of wood that make up “Hollow,” “a microcosmos of all the world’s trees,” as Paterson calls this newest installation. The public artwork, now permanently sited in Bristol’s historic Royal Fort Gardens, was commissioned by the University of Bristol and made in collaboration with the architects Zeller & Moye.
From the outside, “Hollow” looks a bit like a wigwam assembled from giant Jenga pieces. Inside, through a little opening in the façade, thousands of wooden rods of varying sizes protrude from the ceiling and floor like stalactites and stalagmites. Two people can fit in this “modernist grotto,” as the architects put it, “an introverted and meditative space where, whether sitting or standing, one finds oneself embraced by history.” Apertures in the vaulted roof let in sun, mimicking the dappled natural light of a forest canopy.
The effect is spectacular, both visually and conceptually. The single sculpture encompasses all of arboreal history: It features petrified wood from an extinct species thought to be 390 million years old, samples of the world’s oldest known trees, and bits of some of the youngest. It contains human stories, too: The Indian Banyan Tree, under which Buddha achieved enlightenment, and the Japanese Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, which survived World War II. And almost every country on the planet is represented. Paterson received donations from the Herbario Nacional de México, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Kyoto University, and the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard. Paterson’s past projects have been similarly ambitious in their fusion of the natural sciences with sculpture and installation — for one project, she created a map of 27,000 known dead stars.
Katie Paterson’s “Hollow” is permanently on view at the Royal Fort Gardens (Royal Fort House, Bristol, City of Bristol).
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…