Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A few weeks ago our Editor-In-Chief looked at how art flourished after Hurricane Sandy: artists turned their gaze anew toward the notion of home, the process of rebuilding, and the potential to create beauty from devastation. Officials at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) had their fingers on the city's pulse when they commissioned Roderick Romero to use the branches and twigs of the trees felled by Hurricane Sandy for a new sculpture called "Sandy Remix".
Romero makes nests. Nests big enough for humans. He's not the only artist to do so; Marina Abramović and Gareth Wynne Fitzpatrick have brought their own versions of the fractal home to life, too. Patrick Dougherty, whose nests dot the world map from Australia to Korea to Italy to the United States, is often recognised as the master of the genre. He created "Natural History", the BBG's predecessor to "Sandy Remix"; some pieces of Dougherty's nest, along with wood from Tropical Storm Irene, went into the current installation.
The nest is a powerful symbol of home. Its seemingly chaotic but ultimately orderly flow resonates with us on a biological level, invoking a sensation of protection and safety. It is a place where life begins. It is a refuge. And yet, it is impermanent: a nest is made to be left behind. Consisting of materials plucked from local resources, it eventually decays or is reused in a tidy exercise in sustainability. And so, the cycle of building and rebuilding finds its own artistic home in the nest.