Lost Man’s Creek, made to scale from a 790 acre area of Redwood National Park. The open area here represents a creek that exists in the real forest.
Until this weekend, Spencer Finch was most well-known in New York City for having the longest running art installation on the High Line – The River That Flows Both Ways. Located in a passageway above Chelsea Market, the work was so appropriate to the site with its colored panes of glass, many assumed it was a permanent piece. In contrast, his latest work for Public Art Fund, “Lost Man’s Creek” in Downtown Brooklyn at Metrotech Commons is quite the opposite – a miniature redwood forest at 1:100 scale.
It’s a replica of an actual 790 acre portion of Redwood National Park on 4,500 square feet of public space, and if you look closely, you’ll even find a miniature campsite. Even the height of the trees are to scale, as well as geographical elements like creeks and logged areas. The 4000 trees planted aren’t completely foreign to New York City either – they’re young dawn redwoods, a genus related through its ancestry to the giant sequoia trees out west that also grows on New York City streets. There’s a massive one in Brooklyn Heights at 151 Willow Street that is over 100 feet tall and the tallest redwood in Manhattan is located in Liz Christy Community Garden, also over 100 feet. The New York City Parks Department states that the dawn redwood hails originally from China, “known only from fossils until 1941.” It’s also one of over 40 species approved for planting by the Parks Department and is resistant to the Asian Long Horn Beetle.
The height of the trees here is lower because the area in real life was logged
The dawn redwoods grow at a few feet per year but Finch will be cutting the growth down over the course of the installation, which goes until March 18th, so the installation remains to scale. Each tree is between one and four feet right now, but in real life range from 98 to 380 feet. According to Micah Bozeman, the associate Project Manager, the miniature forest reproduces the view someone would see if he or she had a bird’s eye view of the 790 acre portion of Redwood National Park.
The exhibit, Spencer Finch: Lost Man’s Creek, is a partnership between the Public Art Fund, whose recent notable installations include Van Gogh’s Ear, the sideways swimming pool at Rockefeller Center and the giant grocery list off Fifth Avenue, and developer Forest City Ratner Companies. Save the Redwoods Leagues provided to critical data to Finch for the construction of the model, including details like “topographical and canopy height maps of a select section of the protected, inaccessible forest,” writes Public Art Fund in a press release. There’s a a special irrigation system made for the urban landscape.
You can view “Lost Man Creek” from a wooden viewing platform and from ground level at Metrotech Commons.
Next, see the 11 outdoor installations not to miss in NYC this October.