INWOOD — A deconstructed cherry tree grows in Inwood.
The DOT’s latest art installation, “Common Demominator,” featuring a cherry tree trunk with branches that spread into cubed blocks, was unveiled on the corner of Riverside Drive and Dyckman Street Thursday morning in the space formerly occupied by a 10-foot-tall, seed-shaped sculpture, “Pod.”
“It’s gotten a lot of different responses already,” Brooklyn-based artist Anthony Heinz May said of the piece, which will be in place for the next 11 months. “Some of the words I’ve heard are ‘exploding’ or ‘coming together’.”
May said he sought cherry wood material specifically for this project from NYC's Parks Cunningham Park in Queens, because of its connection with the city and the neighborhood.
He said the folks from Cunningham allowed him the space to drill and begin working on the larger parts of the bark in his Brooklyn studio late last year, drilling holes into each cubed section, until finally bringing all the pieces to the site in Inwood.
"I kind of added blocks to the side, to make it look more puzzle-like and less linear... and look very much like it's sprouting out into space," May said. "It's all empirical. I look at it and think what block should be applied next in order to fill that area."
Tthe DOT held an open call last fall and picked May's project to be featured in one of its “priority sites” throughout the city, said Courtney Whitelocke, senior project manager for the DOT art program.
Whitelocke said what interested the DOT the most about May's project was the “dialogue between the piece and the park,” as well as the “activating the public space with more organic material.”
“This is a huge triangle that’s begging for something to anchor it and make it more inviting, so we felt this could be really good,” Whitelocke said.
Meredith Horsford, executive director of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, said the museum plans to going to conduct two Saturday workshops in July with May leading kids in the community on how to use found objects in nature in art.