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Simmons Mattress Gallery's Blog

The Hollow Tree Gets a Golden Makeover

One of Vancouver’s first tourist attractions was the hollow tree in Stanley Park. It stood out as a symbol of the massive wilderness that surrounded the developing city, a wilderness that has been shrinking ever since.

The tree has had its own official photographer, been spared by rezoning and was reinforced in 2009 by public funding, after the 2006 windstorm threatened its foundation. Now, the hollow tree will be the subject of a new public art exhibit by local artist and author, Douglas Coupland.

Coupland has been commissioned to create a full-scale replica of the infamous tree. His version will be made with steel-reinforced resin and will be coated with a gold patina. The golden stump will stand 13 metres tall and will weigh approximately 16,000 kilograms. The exhibit will also feature a large backdrop of a forest.

The golden tree will be displayed in the plaza of the new MC² development that is being built at the bottom of the Cambie corridor. It is estimated that 100,000 commuters will view the work each day from the Canada Line SkyTrain and vehicular traffic.

The piece is a fair distance from its inspiration, but Coupland hopes the new tree will inspire tourists and locals to seek out the original hollow attraction inside Stanley Park.

The publicly funded exhibit will undoubtedly have its haters, but Coupland hopes the piece will incite a new dialogue on ecology and the importance of forest management. “It shows us what we used to have and what we can have again in the future,” claim Coupland, “if we have a spirit of appreciating nature and if we realize that we are its custodian for better or worse.”

Coupland’s other public artworks in the City of Vancouver include the digital orca at the Vancouver Convention Centre and the Terry Fox Memorial in front of BC Place.

“It’s Not The Same Without Sculpture”

If you happened to go for a beach stroll along English Bay last Friday morning, you may have noticed some extra  “wrapping” around some of Vancouver’s public sculptures. Five figures were wrapped with plastic ribbon to announce the sad, expected departure, of the 40 pieces of public art involved in the Vancouver Biennale outdoor exhibit. The ribbon was labeled with the phrase,  ”It’s not the same without sculpture.” The situational irony is heavy, as Vancouverites will have to say goodbye to a number of massive sculptures that shared their community for the last two years.

Commissioned for the years surrounding the Olympics, the Biennale art added a sense of humour and fun to a city that has often been lacking in both of these areas. The project reflected cultural influences from around the world by using the work of 37 artists from 15 different countries. The pieces lined our beaches, sat in public parks and spoke to us from the sidewalk.

Now with the project timeline coming to a close, the sculptures that many of us enjoyed on a daily basis are being auctioned off. The proceeds, collected from the sale of the current figures, will finance future projects, educational packages and artists in residence programs.

Simmons Mattress Gallery’s three favourite pieces from the first round of sculptures were:

1. King and Queen – by Sorel Etrog

(obviously we have a passion for king and queen size beds)

2. Pillows – by Liu Jianhua

(nothing goes better on top of a Beautyrest than a pillow)

3. We, 2008 – by Jaume Plensa

(love the ‘white man’ at Sunset Beach)

For a full map, download this helpful pdf. Enjoy the art while it lasts Vancouver.

"A-Maze-Ing Laughter" By Yue Minjun

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