on the high line, pamela rosenkranz grows synthetic lucid pink tree resembling blood vessels
Pamela rosenkranz cultivates ‘Old Tree’
Driving around the intersection of 10th Avenue and 30th Street in New York City, passersby are immediately lured in by the sculptural shift in the High Line Plinth landscape. Nestled between the skyscrapers and sitting atop a steel bridge, Swiss artist Pamela Rosenkranz cultivates a synthetic artificial tree in hot neon pink that illustrate the branching systems of organs, blood vessels, and tissue of the human body. An artistic foreigner in a modern homeland, ‘Old Tree’ bridges the urban and the rural, the street-art metaphor of nature slowly being out of place in the ever-changing metropolis of man-made architecture.
High Line Art, which organizes public art programming and installations displayed along the High Line, has announced Rosenkranz’s vivid sculpture as the third High Line Plinth commission. Changing every 18 months, the Plinth is one of the only sites in New York City for artists to realize large-scale contemporary artworks. ‘Old Tree’ is on display on the High Line, over the intersection of 10th Avenue and 30th Street, through Fall 2024. Rosenkranz’s commission follows Sam Durant’s Untitled (drone), installed in 2021, and Simone Leigh’s Brick House, which inaugurated the Plinth program in 2019.
The ‘Old Tree’ at The High Line symbolizes the historical archetypes of the Tree of Life, a natural product of nature that connects heaven and earth. At the same time, the sculpture also trails behind human evolution in which the use of synthetic materials in everyday life has become a norm. Substituting organic ingredients for artificial ones may allude to human activities impacting the natural cycle of the world, and Pamela Rosenkranz slips in the underlying message as one of the many roots for her bright sculpture’s existence.
With its vibrant colors and alluring form, the sculpture mirrors the branching systems of organs, blood vessels, and tissue of the human body. It invites viewers to ponder the connection between human and plant life, even just for a short stop on their way to their destination. It looms over the vehicles and onlookers below it, and stands in stark contrast to the buildings around it. Rosenkranz’s work holds up the luminous torch – bright pink in this case – remaining consistent amid New York’s changing seasons.
the pink tree looms over the intersection of 10th Avenue and 30th Street in New York City
25-foot-tall sculpture made of man-made materials
Newly installed on the Spur, ‘Old Tree’ is a vibrant 25-foot-tall pink and red sculpture made of man-made materials. On the High Line – a contemporary urban park built on a relic of the industry – ‘Old Tree’ raises questions about what is truly ‘artificial’ or ‘natural’ in our world. The exhibition of Old Tree on the High Line is set to be followed by public programming around themes of botany and anthropology, with more details to be announced by High Line Art.
Pamela Rosenkranz creates sculptures, paintings, videos, and installations that reflect the human need to anthropomorphize our surroundings in order to understand them. Her projects center on synthetic materials created in the image of nature: a swimming pool filled with viscous fluid, collections of mineral water bottles filled with silicone, or a kitchen faucet streaming water colored with E131 “sky blue” synthetic dye.
With ‘Old Tree’, her synthetic use pervades, infiltrated by the imagery of body organs and vessels in a saturated, whimsical hue. ‘Old Tree comes alive on the High Line, amid the park’s foliage and the surrounding architecture,’says Rosenkranz.‘I look forward to seeing how visitors further activate the sculpture.’
the 25-foot-tall pink and red sculpture is made of man-made and synthetic materials
the form follows the branching systems of organs, blood vessels, and tissue of the human body
Pamela Rosenkranz’s Old Tree is the third High Line Plinth commission