In Blossom, a piano inexplicably fused with a tree plays "Strange Fruit" (in an arrangement by the artist). The song, popularized in the 1930s by Billie Holiday, protests the atrocity of lynching: "Southern trees bear a strange fruit, / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, / Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze, / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees." The haunting lyrics suggest that the fused piano may be read as a surrogate for a violated human body.
Influenced by a 2006 incident in Jena, Louisiana, in which nooses were dangled from a tree at a racially troubled high school, the piece also evokes the rich cross-cultural symbolism of trees: Biggers alludes to the story of Buddha finding enlightenment under a bodhi tree. This unlikely combination demonstrates his interest in multiplicities of both inspiration and interpretation.
- Artist: Sanford Biggers, American, born 1970
- Medium: Steel, silk, wood, MIDI player piano system, Zoopoxy, paint, dirt, modelling clay, polyurethane foam
- Dates: 2007
- Dimensions: 12 x 18 x 15 feet (365.9 x 548.8 x 457.3 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Contemporary Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Period Room/Installation Gallery
- Accession Number: 2011.10
- Credit Line: Purchased gift of Toby Lewis, Charles and Amber Patton, and an anonymous donor, gift of the Contemporary Art Council, and the Mary Smith Dorward Fund
- Rights Statement: ©Sanford Biggers
- Caption: Sanford Biggers (American, born 1970). Blossom, 2007. Steel, silk, wood, MIDI player piano system, Zoopoxy, paint, dirt, modelling clay, polyurethane foam, 12 x 18 x 15 feet (365.9 x 548.8 x 457.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased gift of Toby Lewis, Charles and Amber Patton, and an anonymous donor, gift of the Contemporary Art Council, and the Mary Smith Dorward Fund, 2011.10. ©Sanford Biggers
- Record Completeness: Good (62%)