Monday, September 7, 2009

Trees as Art (and George Maciunas's Real Estate Mayhem)

80 Wooster Street. Photo: Richard Kostelanetz, SoHo: The Rise and Fall of an Artists' Colony.

West of 10th Avenue on 22nd Street sits a long row of trees with stone columns next to each one, an odd touch of nature in the former manufacturing district. Lindsay Pollock recently explained on her blog that they were planted in two sets by Dia (five in 1988 and another eighteen in 1996) as part of Joseph Beuys's 7,000 Eichen (7,000 Oaks), which began at Document VII in 1982.

Thinking about trees in odd, art-related location, I started wondering about those massive trees down in SoHo on Wooster between Spring and Broome. They're bigger than the Chelsea trees, so it didn't seem likely that Beuys was involved. (The 7,000th tree was planted in Kassel at the opening of Documenta VIII, a year and a half after his death.)

It turns out that Fluxus mastermind George Maciunas is responsible for the Wooster Street trees and that they were a small component of an artist co-op empire that he ran in the area in the 1960's and 70's.

George Maciunas, Informational leaflet showing developed and projected Fluxhouses, circa 1967. Courtesy Gilbert and Lila Silverman Collection, Detroit.

In SoHo: The Rise and Fall of an Artists' Colony, which I discovered through the magic of Google Books, author Richard Kostelanetz explains that Maciunas discovered the trees on the sidewalk of an abandoned parking lot and planted them at 80 Wooster without the permission of the city government. When police showed up, demanding that they be removed, Jonas Mekas reportedly told them, "No, George is not going to do it. He says you have to do it." Maciunas had ordered Mekas to photograph the destruction. The police left and never returned, not knowing that Maciunas was using the trees to conceal a renegade connection to the Con Ed electrical grid.

Wooster Street became the center of a series of co-ops (Fluxhouses) that he was quickly developing for artists in the area. Maciunas scoured the neighborhood looking for owners hoping to sell, tossed down deposits, and then rushed to line up investors to win spaces. The risky plays worked; as evidenced by the map included in a 1967 leaflet about his activities, he was able to build up a formidable array of holdings.

Other great Maciunas stories in SoHo include: the time he chased away city building inspectors with a samurai sword, the period he spent ensconced in his apartment until 5:00 pm each day to avoid an arrest warrant, and the stretch he spent bathing in an industrial batter mixer purchased from a local baker.


Anonymous said...

Here is a great chance to drive a large number of visitors to your blogs and websites for free.

Submit your websites, blogs, videos to and get 1000s of targeted visitors everyday for free. It also helps your websites/blogs gain valuable backlinks.

Let the other bloggers cast their votes to push your posts up for a greater visibility. Enjoy a free, huge traffic to your sites.



Sonam Semwal said...

Packers and Movers Service in Ghaziabad
Packers and Movers Service in Rewari
Packers and Movers Service in Panipat
Packers and Movers Service Faridabad
Packers and Movers Service in New Delhi
Packers and Movers Service in Gurugram
Packers and Movers for bike shifting in Delhi
Packers and Movers Service in Nodia
Packers and Movers in janakpuri
Packers and Movers in bahadurgarh
Packer and Movers in Rohtak
office relocation in Gurugram

professional unpacking services in Delhi

wrapped Cargo Packing in New Delhi

truck delhi to Imphal

hire truck in delhi

online Truck Booking

truck booking in delhi

online truck booking Dwarka

truck Booking in Noida

32 feet truck Booking Faridabad

Online Truck Booking in New Delhi
Online Truck Booking Campany in Panipat
Online Truck Booking in Faridabad
Online Truck Booking in Rewari
Truck Booking Online in Gurugram
Online Truck Booking in Ghaziabad

Ivan Irwin said...

Walz Real Estate Agents to its makeup of adult landscape design and exquisite properties for sale, Morris roe became the first group to name its roadways soon after well known character who definitely have called Reddish colored Deer home. Its streets are primarily lined with older shrubs and have walkways on both edges. There are stunning natural areas all over the place, offering plenty of cozy, tranquil areas to soak and loosen up the sunlight.