We start off the celebration with a piece from Monday July 29th, 2013.
Emeryville's Director of Planning, Charlie Bryant had just announced every street tree fronting the former high school on 47th Street was slated for demolition to make way for the Emeryville Center of 'Community' Life. Mr Bryant's absurd claims to justify the killing of the trees made us realize we had failed to see that even though he's on the City Hall payroll, Charlie's really more of an artist than a city planner. The revelation conjured up bombastic art and literary criticism from our college days.
The trees in the story are all gone now having long since given way to the chainsaw.
Here's the story, one of our faves:
July 29, 2013Charlie Bryant, Artist
Interesting but his work is a bit derivative
"Ceci n'est pas un arbre"
"This is Not a Tree" 2013
Who could have guessed our own Planning Director, Charlie Bryant, would emerge as an appropriationalist artist of the surrealist genre?
Art lovers at last Thursday night's Planning Commission were treated to a Charlie Bryant premier, an original art work he unveiled from his dais he calls "This is Not a Tree", a semantic flight of fancy homage to the well known 20th century Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte. But whereas Magritte's seminal 1929 work, 'This is not a pipe' is oil on canvas, Mr Bryant's 2013 piece is purely conceptual in nature.
"This is not a pipe" 1929
Charlie unveiled his would be demuirgic conceptual art during his normal day-to-day work of city planning in Emeryville, in this case at the July 25th Planning Commission meeting. As the Emery School District was presenting their application for the contentious Center of 'Community' Life project, one permit dealt with the cutting down of all the existing trees on 47th Street. Since Emeryville has an Urban Forestry Ordinance and permission must be sought to cut down trees, Mr Bryant stepped in to reassure any tree loving Commissioners that the decision before them wasn't as dire as it seemed, "They're not really even trees [on 47th Street], they're more like upright bushes" he told them.
As Michel Foucault, the late French post-structuralist philosopher and social theorist reminds us in his dissertations regarding Magritte; this work is a rhetorical gestalt, a 'sign symbol' that forces the viewer to confront seemingly nihilistic linguistic and semiotic ambiguities. The appropriated phenomenological asymptotic epistemologies inherent in Mr Bryant's work can be seen as less than seminal in this regard.
His 'tree period' really amounts to nothing more than a cheap rehash of 85 year old ideas.
Perhaps Emeryville residents should see this as it really is: less art (or even city planning) and more deceitful cheapening of the public commons.
This is really not a tree