Get Inside the Head of a New York City Christmas Tree: A Gonzo Short Film from Artist Nina Katchadourian

For every year this Christmas tree

Brings to us such joy and glee

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Such pleasure do you bring me…

All over New York City, tree stands are springing up like mushrooms.

Unlike the fanciful windows lining 5th avenue, the Union Square holiday market, or Rockefeller Center’s tree and skating rink, this seasonal pleasure requires no special trip, no threat of crowds.

You could battle traffic, and lose half a day, dragging the kids to a cut-your-own farm on Long Island or in New Jersey, but why, when the sidewalk stands are so festive, so convenient, so quintessentially New York?

The vendors hail from as far away as Vermont and Canada, shivering in lawn chairs and mobile homes 24-7.

What befalls the unsold trees on Christmas Eve?

No one knows. They vanish along with the vendors by Christmas morning.

The spontaneous cooperation of two such vendors was critical to artist Nina Katchadourian’s “Tree Shove,” above.

Katchadourian, who may look familiar to you from Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style, recalls:

My friend Andrew had been hearing me say for years that I wanted to be shoved through one of those things and he found two friendly Canadians selling Christmas trees in a Brooklyn supermarket parking lot and worked it out with them.

The result is highly accessible, gonzo performance art from an artist who always lets the public in on the joke.

Add it to your annual holiday special playlist.

Related Content: 

Artist Nina Katchadourian Creates Flemish Style Self-Portraits in Airplane Lavatory

Watch The Insects’ Christmas from 1913: A Stop Motion Film Starring a Cast of Dead Bugs

When Salvador Dalí Created Christmas Cards That Were Too Avant Garde for Hallmark (1960)

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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