Although it’s difficult to pinpoint, most experts say that deforestation spreads at a rate of 80,000 acres per day. To give a clearer visual, that’s four times the size of Manhattan. In a small stand against this environmental predicament, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is reclaiming a 2,250 square-foot courtyard through September 13. Commissioning Brooklyn-based Nomad Studio Landscape Architecture, a handiwork and gentle political statement covers their outdoor space, appearing as some verdant magic carpet levitating above a gravel floor.
As lush as it may seem, Green Varnish is actually made up of 10,000 sedum plants on a plywood-and-poplar framework that’s been pressure-treated and bent to rise up nearly 9 feet in one corner. As the summer passes, small flowers will bud, introducing yellow, pink, and white color variations. The title of the artwork, says co-founders and design leads William Roberts and Laura Santín, refers to mankind’s ability to “cover up inconvenient truths so that we can continue to mistreat the environment. We live in denial within a vanishing landscape.” Fortunately, the St. Louis Master Gardener Program will be on hand to assure the health and beauty of the plants. Now, the hope is that this sense of stewardship will spread to our greater ecosystem.