California State University Long Beach Room Centric Art Program

Five plum trees stand in a line at a slight angle toward the southwest. Their leaves flicker in the wind and, brushed by sunlight, their color changes from deep brown to a luminous red orange as the light glows through the translucent leaf fabric.

Opposite the plum trees and extending beyond their span, stands a rigid row of five Italian cypress trees. Perpendicular to these two boundaries is a second line of six more cypress trees to form the northeast corner. On the south side of the museum, beyond view, a line of four additional cypresses planted parallel to the building, serves as the “entry hall” for the “room” to the west. This outdoor living room defines and delineates a contemplative space as well as providing a means to assimilate the disparate elements of the landscape and to view them as a total composition. This raises aesthetic and philosophical issues concerning what has become known as public or site-specific art. Encountering the lines of trees that slowly reveal themselves as design elements, the viewer is surprised into seeing the entire garden as sculpture. While respecting the integrity of the materials, they are manipulated to achieve relationships that communicate visual intent while retaining the unique and inherent qualities of each. The cypress and plum trees of “room” are deliberately placed so that each tree reveals its intrinsic beauty while still contributing to the whole