I was invited by Lacey Fekishazy to participate in the 2018 sculpture show at Glenlily Grounds in Newburgh, NY.  As this would by my third time participating in the show, I wanted to make a work that would again challenge my use of medium. Being familiar with the site, an old estate in a gentrifying post industrial town, I began to think about land use. At first glance, USELESS TREE is a critique of the Great American Lawn, both as a wasteful status symbol and an example of poor design that contributes to social isolation. It does indeed function on this level. The title however, is a nod to a Taoist parable of the same name which asks us to adjust our anthropocentric perspective on utility. Are things useless simply because we cannot exploit them efficiently, or can they have value for themselves, outside of our human machinations?

Recommended Reading:
Thomas Merton, “The Way of Chuang Tzu” pgs. 35 - 36, 58 - 59, 70 - 71
Michael Pollan, “Why Mow? The Case Against the Lawns”