This and That: Colorful Trees

by Brandon Zech November 22, 2018

“This and That” is an occasional series of paired observations. -Ed.

Today: Colorful trees

Inside Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return

Inside Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return

If you’re even tangentially involved in the art world, it’s near impossible for you to have missed the above image, a pathway flanked by neon-colored trees inside of the House of Eternal Return, an immersive installation by Santa-Fe-based art collective Meow Wolf. In a 2016 article, written just months after the installation opened, Glasstire’s Rainey Knudson commended the project in a review, saying “it is the first really ambitious project I’ve seen by a large group of Millennial artists that didn’t feel like a bad trip to the desert, although it does have a whiff of Burning Man.”

At the time, one commenter on the article noted what they referred to as gimmicks that Meow Wolf employed in the installation’s production: “this is pretty gimmicky art school kind of stuff if you ask me. A stack of TVs, really bad murals galore, blacklight paint on some dead trees, neon lights, an arcade, strategically placed xmas lights, glitter, glitter, and glitter.” And more recently, two and a half years out from the House of Eternal Return’s opening, Glasstire’s Christina Rees and Neil Fauerso talked about the merits of ‘real’ art versus those of an arty theme park.

All of this aside, gimmicky or not, we’ve seen colorful trees before in Texas, and I’d imagine we’ll see them again. Below are some old and new, art and not, instances of colorful trees in the lone star state.

Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Houston Gala Painted Trees

At the 2018 Orange Show Center for Visionary Art Gala


Chuck Ramirez's Christmas Trees on view in Chuck Ramirez: All This and Heaven Too at the McNay in San Antonio

Chuck Ramirez’s Christmas Trees on view in Chuck Ramirez: All This and Heaven Too at the McNay in San Antonio


Painted Trees in Houston Neighborhood

Spotted in Houston


Ai Wei Wei Iron Tree Trunk Laguna Glora Contemporary Austin Texas

Ai Weiwei, Iron Tree Trunk, 2015. Cast iron. 185 x 63 x 82 5/8 inches. Edition 1 of 3. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2017. Collection of The Contemporary Austin. Purchased with funds provided by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation, members of The Contemporary Austin Board of Trustees, and generous friends of the museum, 2018.3. Artwork © Ai Weiwei Studio. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photograph by Brian Fitzsimmons.


Konstantin Dimopoulos blue trees project in Houston Texas

Konstantin Dimopoulos’ Blue Trees in Houston, 2013. Image: screenshot via YouTube/CultureMap


Green Tree installation in Houston Texas

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department recently painted some trees green in a way that is strikingly similar to Konstantin Dimopoulos’ artwork. Image via Houston Chronicle



No matter how original, innovative or crazy your idea, someone else is also working on that idea. Furthermore, they are using notation very similar to yours. – Bruce J. MacLennan

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carolyn November 25, 2018 - 09:43 Reply

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