Street meat, block parties, and the best pizza in the world are just a few of the local specialities New Yorkers get to enjoy on a regular basis. But natural outdoor wonder has always been in sparse supply compared to places like Portland, Denver, or even LA. Now, a new art installation is bringing the towering redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest to Brooklyn—you'll just need to make sure you don't step on them.
Dubbed Lost Man Creek, NYC artist Spencer Finch's new work features a 790-acre section of California's Redwood National Park, shrunken down to 1:100 scale and transplanted to MetroTech Commons. The installation recreates the actual topography of a portion of the park's protected, inaccessible forest, and employs roughly 4,000 young Dawn Redwoods ranging in height from one to four feet (because Downtown Brooklyn isn't zoned for fully-grown 380 ft. redwoods).
Lost Man Creek was made in collaboration with the Save the Redwoods League, along with the Public Art Fund, and will be watered via a special irrigation system meant to give the small-scale trees the best urban habitat possible. All told, the installation totals 4,500 square feet, and is on display until March 2018, after which the baby trees will be carefully moved and rehoused.
The exhibit is the latest in Finch's continued attempts to defamiliarize both the natural world and our own human perception. Through painting, drawing, photography, and installations, his pieces have dealt with the sky on 9/11, Claude Monet's garden at Giverny, the Hudson River, and urban forestry in Seattle.
"Through both a scientific approach to gathering data—including precise measurements and record keeping—and a poetic sensibility, Finch's works often inhabit the area between objective investigations of science and the subjectivity of lived experience," Public Art Fund Associate Curator Emma Enderby said in a statement. "In a world where climate change is at the core of societal debates, Finch's installation in the heart of one of the most urbanized neighborhoods of the city presents us with the universal reality of nature's power to awe and inspire, and the importance to remember and protect such wonders."