Apr 19, 1996

In collaboration with The City of New York/Parks & Recreation, The New York Tree Trust, and the Arthur Ross Foundation, Inc., Dia Center for the Arts will extend Joseph Beuys's 7000 Oaks project onto the entire block of 22nd Street from 10th to 11th avenues. The project begins this spring with the planting of eighteen new trees, each paired with a basalt stone column; an additional eleven will be added as the renovation of neighborhood buildings continues.

A ceremony to mark the event will take place on May 8, 1996, at 11:30 a.m. In attendance will be Henry J. Stern, Commissioner, The City of New York/Parks & Recreation, Thomas K. Duane of the New York City Council, Charles B. Wright, Chairman of the Board of Dia Center for the Arts, and members of nearby galleries and the Chelsea community.

7000 Oaks was initiated under Dia's sponsorship in 1982 at "Documenta 7," the large international art exhibition held in Kassel, Germany. The work was part of Beuys's global mission to effect social change; locally, the action was a gesture toward urban renewal. Beuys's plan called for the planting of seven thousand trees, each coupled with a columnar basalt stone approximately four feet high, throughout the greater city of Kassel. Organized under the auspices of the Free International University (FIU), the project took five years to complete, the last tree being planted at the opening of "Documenta 8" in 1987. Beuys intended the project realized in Kassel to be but the first stage in an ongoing scheme of tree planting to be extended throughout the world.

In 1988 five trees paired with basalt stones were planted to mark the opening of Dia's exhibition facility at 548 West 22nd Street. Additional trees will be sited in front of Dia's building at 535 West 22nd Street, a six-story warehouse that will undergo renovation over the next few years to house Dia's permanent collection, which includes works by Joseph Beuys, John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Blinky Palermo, and Andy Warhol, among others. Through this and related projects Dia Chairman Charles Wright said, "Dia will continue to be one of the leaders in developing the Chelsea area as a new cultural center."

Joseph Beuys was born in Kleve, Germany on May 12, 1921. His first one-person exhibition was held in 1953 in Kranenburg. In 1961 he was appointed Professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, where he had earlier been a student, and he continued teaching there until 1972 when he was dismissed amidst great controversy, a dismissal that finally, in 1978, was deemed unlawful. From the beginning of the 1970s he exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States, representing Germany at the Venice Biennale in 1976. Beuys died January 23, 1986, in Düsseldorf, where he had lived for most of his career. Notable among the many retrospectives of his work are those held in New York in 1979, in Berlin in 1988, and in Zürich, Madrid, and Paris in 1993-94.

* * *

For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

Bookmark and Share