For the first public commission of his 50-year career, New York-based artist B. Wurtz (b. 1948 in Pasadena, California) will transform City Hall Park with Kitchen Trees, an installation of five new sculptures. This group of large, whimsical arboreal-like works will be composed of found, durable kitchen items such as colanders, pots, and pans that will form “trunks” and cascading “branches” with vibrant hanging plastic fruits and vegetables. Each rising 15 to 18 feet high and spanning 10 to 12 feet in diameter, the works in Kitchen Trees play with a new scale, responding directly to City Hall Park’s forms and functions. The works will be sited around the historic central Victorian fountain, adding a temporary and contemporary new splash for parkgoers.
Wurtz’ practice grows out of the Conceptual and Pop Art movements, while also evoking Marcel Duchamp and Alexander Calder. His playful sculptural arrangements are guided by an idiosyncratic ordering of found objects, typically relating to themes of food, clothing, or shelter – things that the artist sees as the basic needs for human happiness. Described as refreshing and rebellious, Wurtz’ subtle yet humorous sculptures call into question the value of art and objects, while highlighting his concern for the recycling and reuse of ordinary materials. Bringing works of monumental scale by the artist to the public realm for the first time, Kitchen Trees expands on Wurtz’ practice of working with everyday objects in beautiful, unconventional assemblages, creating a joyfully unexpected experience for visitors to this civic site.
The exhibition is curated by Public Art Fund Associate Curator, Daniel S. Palmer.