Ripley’s Believe it or Not just couldn’t. News stations around the country had another #FloridaMan story. Bloggers mentioned that it was pretty tame by Floriduh standards. Neighbors worried about his trees. Artist Piotr Janowski made headlines when he wrapped his rental house, and its adjacent palm trees, in heavy duty aluminum foil earlier this year.
The Polish born artist wanted to not just explore the Florida sunlight, but hoped to have his Tarpon Springs community see things a little differently, the goal of many artists. “Art always provokes and causes all kind of emotions and expressions. I respect those people as well as others,” Janowski told WFLA.
There are a ton of pictures and videos about the house on Janowski’s facebook page.
The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete has invited Janowski to bring his tin foil to downtown, and wrap up eight of it’s palm trees, hanging additional abstract forms from the trees. Curiosity will open on Thursday, December 3, at 5:30, though people can watch the trees be created before that. The MFA is located at 255 Beach DR. N.E. in downtown St. Petersburg.
Piotr Janowski wrote to the museum, “The meticulously applied and highly reflective medium invites the viewer to explore every groove and hair of the bark. It does this mainly by exceptionally strong reflectance at sharp angles, and an unpredictable, scrambled appearance of colors and light coming in from the surrounding environment. In the uncovered palm tree, expected colors and shadows conceal the natural complexity and beauty to the viewer. Paradoxically, the installation is revealing through concealing.”
Public art has many roles. It can commemorate an experience, place or people; it can comment on the community and highlight or distill how the community regards itself. It can ask people to notice where they are a little more intently, and as in this work, literally reflect the environment back to the viewer.
There will be a lunch-time panel discussion at the MFA on public/private art on Monday, December 7, at noon. In addition to Mr. Janowski, the panel will include Robin Nigh, Manager of Public Programs for the City of Tampa, and architectural historian Kyle Pierson. Katherine Pill, the MFA’s Assistant Curator of Art after 1950, will be the moderator. More information is here.
Janowski took the tin foil off his rental house in Tarpon Springs, rolled it up into a giant ball and rolled it on down to the recycling center. The covered trees will be up at the MFA, reflecting St. Pete back onto itself, and giving an extra shine to the holiday decorations. The trees and art will be up through Valentine’s Day.
Piotr Janowski (born in Poland in 1962) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Poland and at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at Stawski Gallery, Palace of the Arts, in Cracow; The Polish Museum of America in Chicago; the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, in Warsaw; and Laudon Studio, in Vienna, where he currently lives. This is his first installation at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg.