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.
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.