Iranian-born, Minneapolis-based artist Siah Armajani’s installation “Bridge Over Tree” (1970) was unveiled Wednesday at Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. The seminal work, which was first shown as a temporary sculpture at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1970, is comprised of a 91-foot-long walkway with open, trussed sides and a shingled roof. A set of stairs at the sculpture’s midpoint climb up and down over a small evergreen tree. This is the first re-staging of the installation in almost 50 years
According to a press release from the Public Art Fund, “Bridge Over Tree” is intrinsically political in that it encourages interaction between strangers as they walk over and around the bridge. For the artist, who conceived the work during a period of political turmoil during the Vietnam War and after he fled Iran due to his pro-democratic stance, the bridge–a recurring motif for decades–is never simply a passageway between two points. It represents a poetic form caught in-between—connecting people, places, communities, and ideas.