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.
Steel, plastic and synthetic fibers, 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) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Purchase gift of Toby Devan Lewis, Charles and Amber Patton, and an anonymous donor, gift of the Contemporary Art Council, and the Mary Smith Dorward Fund
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Sanford Biggers (American, born 1970). Blossom, 2007. Steel, plastic and synthetic fibers, 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, Purchase gift of Toby Devan Lewis, Charles and Amber Patton, and an anonymous donor, gift of the Contemporary Art Council, and the Mary Smith Dorward Fund, 2011.10. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, DIG_E_2014_Unfolding_Tales_rotation_07_PS4_2011.10.jpg)
installation, DIG_E_2014_Unfolding_Tales_rotation_07_PS4_2011.10.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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