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The Blue Trees Are Coming The Blue Trees Are Coming The Blue Trees Are Coming

The Blue Trees, 2006, Melbourne Australia, Photo Courtesy of the Artist

The Blue Trees, 2006, Melbourne Australia, Photo Courtesy of the Artist

Like light rail, another big , sounds-good idea that isn’t worth it, Houston Art Alliance’s project to bring Blue Trees to Houston is going forward with a similar well-intentioned inevitablity. Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos will arrive next month to create the temporary public art installations at two sites, coloring trees with biologically-safe, water based ultramarine mineral pigments with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Last August, a reception to meet the artist was attended by a roster of Hermann park VIPS and public art mavens, assuring the project would go forward despite little public support: the project has raised only 1% of its $10,000 goal on HAA’s Power2Give website.

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15 Responses

  1. Northsider

    Are you kidding me Bill Davenport? This is awesome, albeit a straight up rip off of Yves Klein’s aesthetic. Houston could certainly use more large scale temporary art, and I think inviting international artists in here is extremely beneficial for the local artist community to learn from.

    1. Bill Davenport

      No, just a lazy, cover-your-ass arts administration day. Sorry if my frustration is showing, but what HAA has done is commission a bland but crowd-pleasing installation from what is essentially an international public art services company. I don’t know what the budget for this project is, but the goal for the HAA’s power2give website was $10,000, and they’re flying the guy out here at least twice. I’d guess at least $35,000, much of which may come from private donors.

      Commissioning real art from real artists takes more work, more thought, more trouble, and has a much higher rate of controversy and/or failure, but it can be done, and is worth doing. Look no further than Austin’s Art in Public Places Program to see what we’re missing.

      1. Northsider

        Just say you don’t like the damn thing Bill! I’ll reserve judgement till I see the finished work. Who cares if it costs more than a $100K, if an organization can pull that much together and an artist can make a convincing proposal to warrant such a price, then power to them. I think the idea is great and the city needs 10x more of this. Houston is a place that requires human derived landscape or architectural transformation to make it funky and beautiful, and if we can get some Smurf trees for a month or so for $10K-$35K, then I say money well spent.

        *Its still a rip-off of Yves Klein though, but he’s been long dead since he had everyone pissing blue at an art opening, so I still applaud a fresh idea using International Klein Blue.

          1. Northsider

            Of course its a fairly safe bet for a public art piece, but it beats a bronze statue of kids running with balloons. Its going to be great and I think you could set up your Amanita mushrooms amongst these Smurf trees to enhance the effect.

          2. Raymond John

            That comparison to the Nasher is amature and you should know better. Houston’s deptartment of HAA is not the Nasher.

  2. Bill Davenport

    OK, Look no further than Dallas, where the Nasher Sculpture Center has just shown what public art can be in a Texas city that tries. Am I wrong in feeling Houston, and HAA can do better than Blue Trees?

    1. Northsider

      The hate for blue continues. No, your opinion about whether these blue trees have merit is not wrong or right, and I’m sure there were a few scoff’s at your Alice in Wonderland Amanita’s in Austin. If you are talking about the upcoming Nasher 10 project, it looks excellent and well thought out.

      I don’t understand how there can be so much money in this city(Houston), and a lot of that money going towards art, but so little put forth to bringing more cutting edge public art. Temporary or permanent, blue trees or goofy shrooms, the city needs more of it.

  3. Dan Havel

    You are right, Bill. HAA and Civic Arts in Houston are so far behind when it comes to the boom that is happening nationwide with permanent and temporary art projects. HAA seems to “shop” for public art instead of invite top curators to select quality work that truly integrates with Houston. What can we do to change the dialogue in town? We are missing the boat. Public art is “THE” buzz word for urban planning and we seem to have missed that idea…..

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