SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) is celebrating with a new and unusual artistic partnership with the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) this coming weekend. Together RPD and CJM helped Artist Gabriela Albergaria transforming a dying tree into a piece of art. This partnership is also part of RPD’s overall efforts to improve tree safety and natural areas management.
A recently opened exhibition at the CJM on view through May 28, 2012, Do Not Destroy: Trees, Art, and Jewish Thought, explores the role of the tree in Jewish tradition and beyond through the lens of more than 70 contemporary artists (http://www.thecjm.org/). One of the participating artists, critically-acclaimed Gabriela Albergaria of Portugal whose projects have repeatedly involved public gardens and trees, proposed to create a hybrid tree sculpture in the gallery using faux grafting techniques based on traditional methods. Her desire was to use plant material collected in San Francisco.
The CJM approached RDP with the proposal, and the unique project got underway in October 2011 in preparation for the exhibition. RDP arborists toured Golden Gate Park with Albergaria, identifying dead and dying trees that could be used and then worked with the artist to cut two selected trees into usable parts for the sculptural installation.
Later in the Museum gallery, Albergaria assembled the disparate pieces into a “new” tree. With its braces, screws, and thread-wrapped limbs, Albergaria’s mended and transformed tree is a powerful reminder of humankind’s control over nature. Click here to view a fascinating video of the creation of this work including interviews with RDP staff and the artist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztggBgK_KpE&list=UU2Pv7MYxF_jts36qIAIUZpA&index=1&feature=plcp
To help build support for the efforts of the recreation and park system, RPD invites San Franciscans to participate in one of our many volunteer opportunities available citywide. Please visit our website at www.sfrecpark.org.