July 12, 2010  |  MoMA PS1
Preserving a Forest at MoMA PS1

David Brooks’s work takes the fragile dynamics of ecosystems as its subject, creating sculptures and installations that consider the relationship between built and natural environments. One powerful example—his massive site-specific installation Preserved Forest—is currently on view as part of the Greater New York 2010 exhibition at MoMA PS1.

Aerial views comparing Amazonian deforestation from 2000 to 2009. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory

Using materials such as concrete, cement, scaffolding, and plant life, Brooks attempts to articulate the complex interrelation between human civilization and the surrounding world, challenging the assumed binary relationship between nature and culture. “It is critical to investigate how cultural concerns cannot be divorced from the natural world,” the artist states. For example, “cities like New York have become densely populated by peregrine falcons and other birds of prey due to the abatement of certain pesticides, re-introduction projects, and the proclivity of these raptors for nesting on high-rise buildings that resemble cliff edges.”

David Brooks. Preserved Forest. 2010. Installation view at MoMA PS1 as part of the Greater New York 2010 exhibition (May 23–October 18, 2010). Photo by Cathy Carver

For the Greater New York exhibition, Brooks created a site-specific installation in MoMA PS1’s duplex gallery, for which he sprayed and pumped twenty tons of concrete over a cluster of twenty-foot-tall trees, attempting to approximate a cross-section of the Amazonian rainforest transplanted into the gallery. Over the course of the exhibition, the trees will decay and collapse, resulting in an installation in a constant state of flux. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary and timely work.