Tucker Neel

[photo by Tucker Neel]

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Welcome To Sunny California, 2010

installation and photo documentation (work in progress), Dimensions Variable, Duration Variable

Contact Regarding Availability

Near the end of the 19th century Southern California experienced one of what would become many boom cycles, where large numbers of people migrated to the region. During this time people would travel to Southern California from the mid-west and the east coast hoping to relocate and start new lives. During this time the land speculators would bring groups of people out to available plots and try to sell them a future infused with the language of paradise. Southern California was sold as a place full of sunshine, easy living, and verdant prosperous land.

Some of these would-be Californians would travel to Joshua Tree and its neighboring nascent cities. Often, before these parties would reach the desert, the land-owners, hoping to sell the barren plots to eager “Okies”, would travel ahead of the caravans of bright-eyed potential buyers and stick oranges on the Joshua Trees. They would then try and sell the land using these "orange trees" as signs of the good life that comes with living in Southern California.

For my project I have re-created this strange circumstance by skewering decorative oranges on a Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree, CA. Decorative Orange trees, also known as Ornamental Orange trees, serve no purpose but to mimic the “look” of an orange tree; they produce inedible nearly useless fruit. They are everywhere in Los Angeles and are planted because they embody the mythology of abundance, prosperity, and health. By moving these oranges out to the desert and placing them on a Joshua Tree I intend to bring together two instances of idealized nature, one from the distant past, and one from the immediate present. The overarching motivation behind this project is to inspire discussion and thought about how we envision paradise, a better life, and the future, and come to a better understanding of how these desires are constructed and mitigated by history, location, marketing, and desire.

This piece is in process.

Artworks by Tucker Neel

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