Grass \'gras\ video provides a deeper understanding of this sculpture's historical, ecological and cultural themes, grazing freely from the studio to suburban landscape. The construction and motivation behind the project is revealed, from cutting recycled tin cans in the studio, to the two day marathon where the 32,400 blades of metal grass were inserted into the base.
Video by Will Zavala, Morsel Pictures.
To support this installation purchase the video CD $15.95 includes shipping (8:40 min) or watch online.
Grass raises many points. Blades of grass cut from post consumer tin containers reflect our consumer society where we think that we can buy everything including happiness and a green lawn.
Cut from post consumer, recycled tin cans each blade of grass is a printed with images and advertising. Ironically, Rance Crain, the editor-in-chief of Advertising Age, is quoted in Buy-ology, Truth and Lies About Why WE Buy that "Advertisers will not be satisfied until they put their mark on every blade of grass."
Grass lawns luxuriate in conspicuous consumption as if to say, "I own this space but I don't need to use it." "Keep off the grass". However, perfect grass is sustained only by spending time and money at an even greater cost to our environment. Grass/grass series was from my observation and recognition in 1997 that grass lawns were not sustainable in most of the U.S. especially in the west. It only took 16+ years and a drought for people to see this.
Outside of the sculptural presence and artistic impact, this sculpture carries a very serious environmental message. We put tons of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides on our lawns which are toxic poisons to the environment. Young children playing on the lawns have the greatest exposure and at the same time are the most vulnerable to the chemical exposure. The chemicals applied to lawns to keep them green are then washed into our ground water and surface water often with our drinking water. In the United States, the lawn, or “turf grass,” is the single largest irrigated crop, three times larger than corn. (50) Add the pollution involved in lawn mowers and you have a huge environmental impact.
Recent issues in the news "touch on divisive issues like homeowner rights, property values, sustainability, food integrity and the aesthetics of the traditional American lawn."* The city of "Los Angeles is trying a new strategy to cope with potential water shortages" by "re-landscaping people's lawns, at a cost to the city of about $500 each, with no charge to the homeowner."**
Freakonomics recently covered the environmental impact of lawns in dollars and cents with the audio: "How Stupid Is Our Obsession With Lawns?"
grass \gras'\sculpture series:
- Square yard of grass 1998
- Increasing quantity, diminishing value 1999
- A Yard of grass 1999
- grass\gras' (This installation is 9' x 9' feet. It ships easily in 18 boxes and installs in about two hours.)
This series of grass \gras'\ sculptures highlight the grass lawn as an ultimate consumer icon of American culture. Each blade of grass is cut from post consumer recycled tin cans. Only a society as rich as we are thinks we can buy happiness and a great lawn and an even greater cost to our environment.
As the west suffers with an historic drought, the impact of using our drinking water to water lawns and the urban landscape has come under further scrutiny.
The lawn was originally introduced by Thomas Jefferson but has become an standard of the domestic landscape all over North America. This is an unrealistic standard incompatible with the Mediterranean climate of California, or the arid lands of Arizona, New Mexico or Texas, just as a few examples where lawns are still considered a suburban landscaping feature.
This Grass sculpture and video address the environmental impact of lawns and wasting of water, a valuable resource. This standard is not sustainable even without a drought as urban populations increase and farming demands an even greater supply of water.
Sculptures and installation from recycled materials with an environmental message are available for purchase or exhibition.
Click on any image to see larger images, description and price.
Harriete Estel Berman assembling A Yard of Grass II (summer 2018.) This sculpture will be in the exhibition TERRA inFIRMA at the DR. BERNARD HELLER Musuem.
Opening for this exhibition is Thursday, September 6, 2018 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: One West Fourth Street | New York, NY 10012
Grass postcard is available for purchase. This is a three fold postcard format.
10 cards for $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping.
Dimension of card: 4.25"height x 18" long, or cut into 3 individual 4" x 6" postcards.
Work in progress
This grass sculpture still isn't finished. It is a work in progress. I've been working on it on and off for years. It is about the symbolism of the grass lawn as domestic bliss and iconic suburban living.