The blog of author Dennis Cooper


Katie Holten Never Enough IX, 2008
wood, cardboard, wire, black gaffer tape


Jennifer Steinkamp Blind Eye 1, 2 & 3, 2018
‘“Blind Eye 1” spreads a 43-foot-wide row of life-size pale birch trunks against a dark ground, tops and bases cropped to confront and dislocate us. The varied trunk sizes imply deep space, but also read as a fence-like barrier. Leaves sprout from a welter of small branches, forming a dense screen, then turn yellow and drop. Tiny new leaves appear, like stars against the darkness. Seen against the woods visible through the gallery window, the accuracy of Ms. Steinkamp’s perceptions is obvious, but so is the artifice of her seeming naturalism. The black markings on the trunks become stylized eyes and the once-benign forest becomes threatening. Despite the arresting beauty and provocative use of motion in her work, there’s also a sense of the sinister. We’re back with the Brothers Grimm, in uncanny territory where danger lurks.’


2 (Watch it here)



Ryan McGinley William (Floating Trees), 2012


Evan Holloway Trees, 2000 – 2017
‘In Holloway’s tree sculptures, each bronze tree is recomposed to “grow” through only one limb, without any additional branches. The trees are multi-colored, and each color used, often tertiary, is preceded or followed by another color with which it shares a common hue conforming to color theories. If the branches were spread out into a single line, it would be apparent that they are methodical chromatic progressions. By contrast to organically occurring forms, these trees subject to human interference have been manipulated to reveal sharp angles, unpredictable colors and asymmetric shapes.’


Oskar Dawicki After Christmas Forever, 2005
‘In the work After Christmas Forever – an artificial Christmas tree, which has lost needles – the artist seems to freeze forever morose, after-Christmas mood, making from this object a symbol of the social depression.’


Henrik Hakansson The Symptoms of the Universe, 2012
‘Henrik Håkansson’s work The Symptoms of the Universe shows in slow motion a tree exploding into fragments and presented in its physical form in the space. The tree splinters and remnants confront us with a new universe in which the tree’s disintegration allows us to reflect on human beings’ relationship to the various events of life, and the cycle of nature and society.’


Oscar Tuazon Natural Man, 2015
Black walnut, fiberglass concrete, pump, water


Siyu Kim The tree remembers the forest where it lived, 2022
‘This is a chest of drawers that I urgently bought because I needed a storage closet after the loss of all things due to an accident. I bought it at the ‘Emmaüs’ thrift store for 25 euros. In the end, I bought it because the price and size were right for the purpose of the purchase, but in fact, it was an unknown design to me. As a Korean, for me this dresser was elegant and traditional French style. The dresser and I are in an unknown room. Neither of us seem to fit into this room, nor each other. I asked it, an unknown being, what kind of existence it had. Just a chest of drawers, but before that it was used in another house in the past, had another owner, maybe had driven a long distance in a van, used to be wood, was a tree before that, and lived in the area. Forest. When the dresser is another being in front of me with its countless stories, the dresser becomes “you” rather than “thing”. When I said “You don’t look like you fit here.” it said “I’m like you.” At that moment, I saw myself sitting in an unfamiliar room, an unfamiliar region, and an unfamiliar country.’


Roxy Paine Trees, 2004 – 2010
‘The trees are different species, but the observer is unable to demarcate where one begins and the other ends. The work is complex, fabricated from approximately seven-thousand metal pipe and rod elements, and assembled through the rigorous tasks of cutting, bending, tacking, welding, grinding, and polishing.’


Pierre Ardouvin La Tempête , 2011
Tree, clay, armchair


Eva Jospin Forêt, 2014
‘Eva Jospin beckons us before strange and beguiling forests. The last few years have seen her attentions drawn to the question of landscape and how it is depicted, and she uses but one medium – cardboard – to sculpt her sweeping “Forests”.’


Freeman Vines Hanging Tree Guitars, 1948 ->
‘Freeman Vines’s handmade guitars are crafted from hunks of old wood from a tree once used for a lynching. “There was something about that wood that was mental, spiritual,” Vines says. “Working with that wood was a spiritual thing,” he says. “Not good, not bad, and not ugly. But just strange. They don’t sound exactly like nary instrument I ever messed with. Not an eerie sound, not a comfortable sound, but just a sound. Hard to explain. Won’t get into that though because it’s too deep.”‘


Robert Longo Untitled (A tree, for Sam), 2016
‘This is a clear reference to the play by Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot.’


Giuseppe Penone Various, 1980 – 1986
‘Penone’s work focuses on the similarity between nature and man, expressed by referring to trees, which he himself has defined as “perfect sculptures, living beings like humans, admired for their way of growing and evolving in a coordinated, never random way “.’


Sam Durant Tangled, Chaotic, Discontinuous, Senseless, Inverted, Rational, Uniform, Structured, Ordered, Reversed, 2001
Fiberglass, wood, mirror


Siah Armajani Bridge Over Tree, 1970/2019
‘At 91 feet long, the bridge does not connect two points, but rather takes on a poetic and political form. It is one long, narrow passageway that sharply rises and falls over and around a single evergreen tree, though never disrupting it. The artist cites German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s ideas of being in the world as an influence on the work, and how the bridge is devoid of placement, location, physicality, or dimension.’


Hugh Hayden Nude, 2021
‘Hayden carved the oversized human skeleton, sprouting branches “like a family tree” with wood from Louisiana, his mother’s birthplace.’


Giuseppe Licari Humus, 2012
‘For the site-specific ‘Humus‘ installation, Italian artist Giuseppe Licari created huge chandeliers made of tree roots.’


Lee Gil Rae Various, 2016
‘As the world’s environment and natural resources continue to rapidly diminish, Lee Gil Rae constructs enormous forests of copper to capture the beauty and intricacy of trees in permanence.’


Lee Kun-Yong Corporal Term, 2018
tree, red soil, gravel, sand, cement


Petah Coyne Untitled #1336 (Scalapino Nu Shu), 2009
apple tree, taxidermied pheasants, peacocks and a squirrel, black sand from pig iron casting, Acrylex 234, black paint, cement, chicken-wire fencing, wood, gravel, rope, insulated foam sealant, pipe, epoxy, threaded rod, wire, screws, jaw-to-jaw swivels


Ugo Rondinone a day like this.made of nothing and nothing else, 2009
‘Meticulously molded from the ancient olive trees which grow outside of the artist’s ancestral Naples, a day like this.made of nothing and nothing else functions as a highly personal tether between Rondinone’s familial origins and his ever-evolving conceptual aims. As the artist explains, “what interests me about the 2000-year-old olive trees is the fact that once they are cast bare naked, they become a memoriam of condensed time. Through a cast olive tree, you can not only experience the lapse of real time that is lived time, frozen in its given form but through this transformation also a different calibrated temporality. Time can be experienced as a lived abstraction, where the shape is formed by this accumulation of time and wind force.”‘


Tamara Kostianovsky Stumps, 2018
Discarded clothing


Daniel Siering and Mario Shu Hovering Tree, 2014
‘This rural intervention (?) was created by Daniel Siering and Mario Shu in Potsdam, Germany. The duo wrapped a tree in plastic sheeting and then mimicked the background landscape using detailed spray paint strokes to create the illusion of a tree cut in half.’


Khalil Rabah Grounding, 2022
‘Khalil Rabah creates a mirage of an orchard of olive trees, which stand in the desert of Saudi Arabia living things displaced from their indigenous land and longing to be repatriated, as an exploration of territory, survival and citizenship.’


Arlene Shechet Paper Tree, 2020
‘It’s not that I’ve painted a tree on the paper, it’s that the color is the paper tree.’


Matthew Barney Various, 2018
‘The large-scale tree sculptures are made of brass and copper, combining classical and experimental metal casting techniques with state-of-the-art 3D computer aided design.’


Cosmic Hunt



Ursula von Rydingsvard Luba, 2009–10
Cedar, cast bronze, and graphite


Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees: Central Park Series III: Tree #8, Andrea, 
‘In his drawings, works on paper and photographs Gaines continually investigates how rule-based processes and systems construct the experiences of aesthetics, politics and language. By employing multi-layered practices, including images, texts and grids, as well as working in a serial character, Gaines examines image structures and critically questions forms of representation. His formal and at times mathematic methods are often ruptured by mysterious and illogical elements and thus explore what constitutes the rational and the irrational, the objective and the subjective.’


Myoung Ho Lee Tree, 2006
‘Myoung Ho Lee’s ‘Tree’ series can be called the portrait of trees, as it applies a common tradition of studio photography to trees in nature. It depends on the situation, but usually a maximum 25 by 12 meter backdrop is installed behind the tree. This process is harder than it sounds as it transfers Myoung Ho Lee’s artwork from regular photography of art to conceptual art project, of which teamwork and labor are crucial than anything else. The importance of labor in fine art began to be considered crucial since the 1960s with emerging of conceptual art, minimalism, land art, performance and installation, and Myoung Ho Lee’s photography project continues its context. It is not easy to travel everywhere to find trees for the subject of artwork, but it is even more complicated to bring all the people and equipment to where the chosen immovable trees are. During this process, at least dozens of people are involved, at least two cranes are placed on the both sides and all the equipment including lighting system is brought.’


Cai Guo-Qiang Black Christmas Tree, 2012
‘Using 2,000 firework-like explosives, Guo-Qiang will take the pine tree through three pyrotechnic stages: The tree will first be covered in yellow and white sparkles of light. The lights will spread throughout the tree, simulating twinkling Christmas lights. Then the tree will explode in a cloud of black smoke, leaving a “negative” smoke image that resembles a Chinese ink painting drifting off into the wind.’




p.s. Hey. ** Corey Heiferman, Hey, Corey great to see you, pal. New? Just film stuff mostly. Ha ha, thank you for filling me in on the WedgiePlex. That does not look sexy at all, but neither does eating shit and yet, for some, it’s the creme de la creme. Your video works sounds really interesting. Yeah, I mean, what you describe about ‘narrative expectations can lurk underneath’ pretty much precisely resembles the discovery I made when I was beginning go make my gif fictions. So, yes! And, yes, heads up when you start your Substack. I don’t think I know Ohad Naharin’s work. Gisele might. I’ll look it up. That class stuff looks pretty relaxing and, well, not easy too, in the video. Cool. You’re always onto such interesting stuff, my friend. Kudos. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. The link didn’t work, but I’m assuming it leads to the Antonioni? ** Misanthrope, Did you manage? Is there anything about Alexandria that causes it to resemble the Egyptian port city that presumably gave it its name? I’m actually quite surprised that monkeypox hasn’t been mentioned by the escorts or slaves I’ve looked at other than one time/guy who claimed to be vaccinated against it. I assume it’ll be a byword soon. And how long until there are monkeypox chasers out there, I wonder. ** _Black_Acrylic, GTA was invented in Dundee?! And aspects of Minecraft go through there too? Holy moly. The wealth one imagines astounds. It sounds like the movie industry in LA. People assume it’s pervasive, but it’s totally possible to live a full life there and never intersect with that world at all. As long as you don’t frequent buzzy restaurants and stuff. ** Bill, I think so, a bit, yes. Did you find out about ‘Nope’? I feel less and less anticipation for it. ** Iain Banks the 3rd, Hi there, welcome! Well, obviously happy to have helped de-anger you. Weirdly, no-one has ever referred to me as a slut that I know of. I don’t know if I should be proud of that or not. You, on the other hand, sound like you would make a very good slut, or at least one I would snap up and ‘immortalise’ in a post. Finding slaves or escorts who don’t just type words to the effect of ‘I’m hot, fuck me’ is a real task. Ha, excellent subtle, time-requiring quip there, sir. Thank you. That helped. ** Dominik, Hi!!! There is a meeting scheduled for later today. I wonder if it’s such a good idea. Today we reach the final total for what’s available to make our film. Next we will work with one of our LA-based co-producers to downside and adjust the existing budget to fit the amount we have. And then we’ll how difficult it’s going to be. And then Zac and I will go to work. No, you cant buy Ritz Crackers here that I’ve seen. Maybe at that American junk food store. I need to go find out. It’s strange what US products are de rigeur here and which are completely unknown/unavailable. There seems to be no logic to it. But I guess it’s interesting to see the difference between French taste buds and American ones. Do you have Ritz Crackers in Budapest? KaaFan seems to have been the hit. Which is good. Triggering men all over the world to commission custom made Kaa costumes. May the most civilised one win. With love’s help. Love causing hypnotism to work like it does in the movies and in people’s fantasies (speaking as someone who was hypnotised a number of times when I was younger and who knows it doesn’t), G. ** Billy, Hi, Billy. Well, while everything in those posts is found and real, I do a mix-and-match and collaging thing with the profiles to protect the identities of the profile makers. In other words, the KaaFan of the post is an amalgamation and doesn’t exist in that exact form. So he can’t be located. I use about 7 sites to find the slaves/materials. The one that tends to be the most useful is called Recon, so the majority of the stuff tends to come from there. I hope you’re doing good too. ** Robert, Hi. I agree, I guess obviously. I will let you know. I’m hoping to be freed up enough from work obligations to take a gaming foray this week. I really like that phrase ‘horsing around’. I’m going to try to use it more often. I do understand that conundrum, yes. Yeah, I’m not an expert on such things since I quit university after one year so I could just write and etc., but I certainly know people whose own work ended up being a historical-only thing thanks to the consuming nature of school and what it trains one to be. On the other hand, I know people who had sufficient belief in their own stuff and drive that they managed to do the old ‘cake and eat it too’ thing without too much hassle. So, I don’t know, I guess. You could always do what I did and try it out and then realise, nah, and bail, but it might be that I was just lucky to make that work for me. Man, I’m not helping at all, am I? It seems like you’ll be okay. I don’t know why, just a gut feeling. ** Okay. I thought I would make you something kind of pleasant and sort of nature-attached today, and that up there is as close as I could get to those two qualities. See you tomorrow.


  1. Dominik


    I wish you all the strength for today’s meeting, Dennis, honestly. I hope it goes better than expected, if it’s at all possible…

    No, we don’t have Ritz Crackers in Budapest either. Based on its box, I think we have something really similar – or at least the picture evokes a certain taste in my mouth very strongly – but it’s under a different brand name. It really is strange which products make it to other countries and which don’t. I could use some more American crackers and sweets.

    How does (did) it feel to be hypnotized? We learned about it at uni but only superficially, and I’ve tried all kinds of “imaginative” and “trance” techniques but not this one.

    Love naming his child Nagy Zoárd after a walking pine from a Hungarian tale, Od.

  2. Billy

    Thanks Dennis.
    Would love the idea of working hypnotism but it’s a pipe dream of course and the people who are into that seem fairly scattered, annoyingly. I always found recon a nightmare. Yeah I’m good thanks

  3. Billy

    Ps I love the mcginley picture here. There’s a giant floating tree in the atrium at work with roots and so on and it reminds me of the latter part of this

  4. David Ehrenstein

    Tree Song,?A>

  5. Tosh Berman

    I don’t go out and hug trees, but I’m a tree-hugger in my head. I would go out more during the sunlight hours if there were more trees in Los Angeles. Nothing is worse than waiting for a bus at a bus stop that is drenched in desert-like sunshine. When I take walks, I’m always finding/looking for a shadow of some form or shape. Today’s blog sets off a comfort zone, where I feel physically better just by looking at the images.
    On the other hand, we had this old oak tree that died on us in our backyard. Every plant we touch dies! But when the tree went down, we had this beautiful view of Atwater Village/Glendale/No 5 Freeway/ and No. 2 Freeway. Very Ballard-like imagery. We like that landscape better than the one with the oak tree blocking that view. As I write in my living room at the moment, I can see a distant but very peaceful view of the Observatory that once was blocked by a tree. A strange duality is at place here!

  6. David Ehrenstein


  7. Bill

    For some reason I’m doing a lot of random association lately. I look at “Trees” and I think of DL Ted, haha.

    Nope had a good first half. But I thought it got a bit bombastic and messy. Maybe if I wasn’t in a theater with the big Dolby sound system with subwoofers that vibrated your butt, I might have enjoyed it more.

    See you on zoom tomorrow!


  8. _Black_Acrylic

    Since entering the East Leeds Recovery Hub here the other week I’ve not set eyes on a single tree, and so this day comes as some welcome visual respite. Contemporary art of any kind has been a particular rarity of late. Still no word as to when my new flat is ready but will keep you posted.

  9. RYAN

    Dennis! Hello!

    So sorry I havent messaged in a bit again, my manager at work got covid, so I had to do her job for two weeks ontop of my overtime, but this week I have got the whole week off just to chill and trinagulate my effort into my music, I actually have an online radio interview tomorrow evening which will be broadcasted in mid august which im stoked about, its about 2 hours long and features some scrapbook esque demos which i created during the conceptualisation stage of my new album, I will be talking about the album, its intentions and its place within my discography in relation to my previous work.

    I’ve actually started work on what will be the last song on the album (not the last tracklist wise but I suppose the last song I will make FOR the album) I will probably make some more EP’s and singles because I really love the music I am making right now and want to share it. It’s funny too coz I was entirely content in basically like, having the songs I have now for the album but this one almost just like, came to me.

    The vibe of the song is like, Hollaback Girl, really sporty, cheers and whistles and stomp and claps, super camp, I think its a complete umbrella of the intention of the body of work. I absolutley love the last quarter of the song, I have no idea what possesed me to make such a bop! I think its the most dancable song of my career, Im thinking of putting it on the setlist for my show last min haha.

    I also bought the pieces for that costume, featuring a football shirt, kneepads, and a wrestling singlet, I need some white big fluffy legwarmers for the wrestling singlet, just for some flair hahahaha, when i get the outfits I will do more shoots so I will keep u updated.

    How is the film!!!

    How are yoU!!

    lots and lots and lots of love

    from Ryan <3

  10. Svartvit

    Nice to see some familiar ones in here. The museum I work at will host a Penone exhibition starting in October and there is a work of his like that not too far from here in Rotterdam actually.

    For the Godot one I’d personally pick the version Giacometti did, his interest in Beckett resonates well in a lot of his work.

  11. Steve Erickson

    How’d things turn out in today’s meeting? My fingers are crossed, but the situation seems unlikely to go well. If the worst happens, I wish you and Zac the best in making the film at a lower budget.

    Gay City News published my latest music round-up, covering They Hate Change, Perfume Genius, and King Princess, over the weekend: I’d hoped to write about both Demi Lovato’s new album and a Coil reissue in August’s, but I haven’t been able to get a hold of either yet.

  12. Misanthrope

    Dennis, It was a’ight. Didn’t do much, but I have no complaints.

    Hmm, Old Town Alexandria is not. It’s more, hmm, like an old English town, the set up and all. It is close to the water. You know I’m about big Alexander III fan, so I’d love it to be more like the Egyptian Alexandria, but it’s really just a quite wealthy white liberal enclave. But it has its charm, Old World and all that. I mean, there aren’t people dressed in colonial garb or anything, but it’s a bunch of quaint shops and good places to eat and all that, right on the Potomac.

    Ha! I was thinking about monkeypox chasers just the other day, especially as I was reading some of these guys’ accounts of how they got it. I was like, were you trying to get it? I mean, you see a dude with a bunch of blisters…why would you if you didn’t want to get it yourself. Of course, you don’t have to come in contact with blisters per se to get it, but the amount of fucking these guys are doing—still doing—is pretty mind boggling, imo.

    I don’t know, I’ve never been to a piss party and swallowed a megaton of piss or anything. But to each his own.

  13. katie holten

    Hi there,

    Someone shared your TREES post with me.

    Thanks for sharing my Black Tree.

    “Never Enough Time” was the title of some drawings, not the tree itself!

    You might enjoy my new book, The Language of Trees

    take care

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